Kuwait’s foreign ministry has moved in quickly to contain a simmering diplomatic crisis with a “major Arab country” amid reports that a Kuwaiti ambassador sought to obtain intelligence reports in an unconventional way.
The ministry on Tuesday said that “the recent claims by social communication networks and local press that a Kuwaiti diplomatic mission head had illegal activities and contacts that contradict normal diplomatic tasks” were not true.
“All ambassadors and representatives abroad carry out their missions with high national responsibility, in line with diplomatic rules, norms and considerations and as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” a spokesperson for the ministry said in a statement carried by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).
On Monday, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported that Kuwait was able to manage the diplomatic problem with a major Arab country whose intelligence agency said that the Kuwaiti ambassador had bribed an employee in a “highly sensitive entity” in order to provide him with reports about activities and perspectives discussed within it.
According to Al Rai, Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid, the deputy prime minister and interior minister, was able to defuse the tension after he personally managed the crisis with the highest security agency of the Arab country.
The daily said that the alleged deal between the ambassador and the employee was discovered by the intelligence agency in the Arab country.
The ministry added that its ambassadors and representatives abroad “always seek to achieve their country’s high interests through fervent efforts to establish bilateral relations between the State of Kuwait and other brotherly and friendly countries”.
“Everyone is well aware of the proven and prestigious track record of Kuwaiti diplomacy,” the spokesperson said.
“The reports that showed a misunderstanding of the relationship between a Kuwaiti embassy in a certain country and a security official there are totally inaccurate and were published in a way that cannot serve the state’s higher interest and seriously undermines the distinguished and fraternal relations between Kuwait and brotherly countries.”
The statement said that the “misunderstanding has been contained within the framework of firm fraternal relations with the brotherly country,” and urged everyone “to take Kuwait’s higher interest into account while covering issues and questions that are related to Kuwait’s foreign relations and firm bonds with brotherly and friendly nations.”
Al Rai reported that “the employee was placed under close surveillance, and the intelligence service discovered that he provided highly confidential information about decisions, discussions and viewpoints on Arab crises and on the relations between the Arab country and other countries, particularly the Gulf countries,” the daily reported, citing a source it did not identify.
During his questioning, the employee admitted he provided secret information in return for money.
Kuwait, upset over the situation, launched its own investigations, called in its ambassador and confronted him with the details from the Arab intelligence agency, the daily said.
The ambassador explained he wanted to have the most accurate details to help the foreign ministry and the Kuwaiti government make well-informed decisions.
However, the ministry rejected the arguments, insisting on the need to comply with international conventions and to promote bilateral cooperation with the host country.
He was told that he could use his encounters with ministers, officials, public figures, intellectuals and analysts to gain insights into the country’s views and perspectives, Al Rai said.
The ambassador reportedly said that he would retire after three months.