Nations mourned the passing of the late Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, during a United Nations General Assembly special session on Tuesday. Global delegates stood for a minute of silence to mourn the loss of the virtuous ruler, once granted a ‘Humanitarian Leader’ award by former UN chief Ban Ki-moon, in memory of his legacy in humanitarianism, diplomacy, peace-making and conflict resolution.
United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir praised the late Amir as a pioneer of preventive diplomacy, due to his commitment to peace and conflict resolution through dialogue.
During his time as Foreign Minister over four decades, he also had a pivotal role in establishing the Gulf Cooperation Council and helped strengthen cooperation in the Middle East and amongst nations of the world, Bozkir added.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad clearly underlined, during the summit for the adoption of sustainable development goals in 2015, Kuwait’s commitment to the United Nations 2030 plan, he said, adding that since becoming a UN member in 1963, Kuwait has been an active partner, working to achieve the organisation’s goals.
This is why the UN recognises the work of this prominent leader in humanitarian work, he said, as his leadership contributed to saving tens of thousands of lives and motivated others to participate in humanitarian work.
The generosity of Kuwait and its late Amir transcended the Middle East to various parts of the world, he added. For his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the late Amir as a distinguished statesman, a distinguished human being, a builder of bridges and a messenger of peace, saying he prioritised cooperation and pluralism.
Throughout his reign, His Highness gained everyone’s appreciation and respect for his outstanding leadership and commitment to keeping peace. He has always been ready to build bridges between religions, cultures and countries in the neighborhood and beyond, and thanks to insight, political wisdom and perseverance, His Highness formed the preventive diplomatic line of Kuwait in the region and at the international level, Guterres added.
Guterres indicated that Sheikh Sabah played a vital role in mediating, facilitating dialogue and spreading messages of peace, tolerance and coexistence, describing him as a close friend of the UN.
His ambitious vision contributed to the development of modern Kuwait, his work to support and empower women at all levels was evident in his efforts to ensure the right of women to vote in Kuwait, and the world has lost a global leader and a symbol of humanity, he added.
He expressed the UN’s aspiration for the continuation of the strong partnership and friendship with the State of Kuwait based on the legacy of His Highness, pledging to continue supporting the Kuwaiti mediation efforts and its role in promoting peace and stability.
For his part, the Africa group and Cameroon representative said the late ruler left an important legacy, through his contributions to the development of Kuwait and global humanitarianism.
Through his leadership and vision, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad helped to ensure that Kuwait enjoyed an important global role, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to relief operations and humanitarian work across the Middle East and Africa, he added.
The Kuwaiti leadership helped save lives and motivated others to participate in humanitarian work, he added. Under his leadership, Kuwait helped improve the lives of people around the world, and the late Amir’s efforts to promote dialogue and peace were very important and will never be forgotten, added the diplomat.
Indonesia’s representative said, on behalf of the countries of Asia and the Pacific, that the late Amir will be remembered for his great leadership and generous and sympathetic deeds.
He also hailed the late Amir’s exceptional leadership in the humanitarian field, saying he brought pride to his people and made Kuwait a country that assists peace and prosperity on the regional and international spectrums.
The Indonesian diplomat went on to describe the late Amir as one of the most important advocates of tolerance and peace and as a leader of humanitarian work.
For his part, the Latvian representative, on behalf of the Eastern European Group, described the late ruler as a wise man and a pioneer in Arab diplomacy, due to his courage and his determination to promote diplomacy in the region and beyond, and a symbol of generosity.
The diplomat went on to recall the late Amir’s numerous accomplishments, namely being a major contributor to international coalition efforts that saved Kuwait from invasion by Iraq in 1991 and working for reconciliation amid the Gulf crisis.
He was also one of the builders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Kuwait showed a strong commitment to strengthening the role of the United Nations, through its non-permanent membership in the Security Council, in addition to hosting several donor conferences to assist both Syria and Iraq, the diplomat said.
He also recalled the leadership in the humanitarianism award granted by former United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.