Last Updated: Wed Mar 30, 2011 13:49 pm (KSA) 10:49 am (GMT)

Kuwait MP files to grill top diplomat over Bahrain

Kuwaiti Shiites protest in support of Shiite-led Bahraini anti-government protesters in Kuwait City
Kuwaiti Shiites protest in support of Shiite-led Bahraini anti-government protesters in Kuwait City

A Shiite MP filed a petition Wednesday to question Kuwait's foreign minister for failing to take steps to prevent Bahraini state television from broadcasting "insults" against his country.

Phone-in talk shows on state-run Bahrain Television on March 25-26 contained "derogatory statements and insults" against the emirate and prominent Shiite families, according to MP Saleh Ashur.

The MP, apparently referring to charges that wealthy Kuwaiti Shiites had been funding protests in Bahrain, charged Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah had failed to intervene and prevent the broadcasts from going ahead.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa himself objected to the views aired on television, warning on his Twitter page: "Any insult to Kuwaiti figures is an insult to the whole of Bahrain."

Shiite-led protests in Bahrain and a government crackdown which cleared demonstrators from the streets have also raised sectarian tensions in Kuwait between its majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslim communities.

Kuwaiti Shiites, who make up an estimated 30 percent of the emirate's native population of 1.15 million, have rallied in support of their fellow Shiites in Bahrain.

Sunnis, however, staged two massive rallies of solidarity with Bahrain's Sunni minority and ruling family, accusing non-Arab Shiite Iran of meddling in the internal affairs of Manama.

"The foreign ministry has failed to defend Kuwaiti citizens, national institutions and even the regime," Ashur alleged.

"The insults against Kuwait and the prime minister by Bahraini media through an official satellite channel are in fact an act of aggression against the independence of the state of Kuwait, its constitution and the regime," he said.

Ashur's petition was the third in a week against ministers from the Al-Sabah ruling family, amid another looming political crisis, a frequent occurrence in oil-rich Kuwait.

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