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Kuwait parliament to debate GCC security pact on April 29
April 15, 2014, 2:16 pm

Lawmakers seek to get opinion of panel of constitution experts

A Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) security agreement at the centre of a deep standoff in Kuwait will be reviewed by the parliament on April 29.

However, lawmakers are most likely to push for its postponement to the next legislative term to give more time for constitution experts in the parliament to study it and assess whether some of its provisions clash with the articles of the Kuwaiti constitution, local daily Al Wasat reported on Tuesday.

The pact has been referred to the parliament by the parliamentary foreign affairs committee after its members recommended its rejection by three votes to two. The committee said that it proceeded to the internal vote after a panel of constitution experts failed to present their views on it within a one-month time frame and asked for an extension.

“Several lawmakers will request putting off the security pact to the next legislative term and will refer it once more to the foreign affairs committee alongside the report to be prepared by the panel of constitution experts,” Al Wasat said.

The parliament has been deeply fractured over the merit of the security accord endorsed by the other five GCC members — Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Those who oppose it claim that some, if not most, of its provisions are contrary to the letter and spirit of the Kuwait constitution and undermine the sovereignty of the country. They argue that it affects the rights of Kuwaiti citizens and reduces their freedoms and their practice of democracy.

Supporters of the agreement argue that it reinforces Kuwait’s commitment to fighting all types of crime and to consolidating common Gulf security.

They say that the pact helps Kuwait deal better and more effectively with trans-border crimes and upgrade its preparedness to work with other GCC countries in tackling new forms of international criminal activities.

The government has consistently rejected allegations that the agreement violates the constitution and often stressed its significance for the country and the region.

“Article One of the GCC security agreement does not clash with the Kuwaiti constitution, and there is no way that we endorse any law or decision that is against our constitution,” Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid, the foreign minister, said last month.

Khalid Al Jarallah, the foreign ministry undersecretary, said that the pact was in accordance with the Kuwaiti constitution.

“People should go through the articles of the agreement cautiously in order to appreciate them,” he said.

“It clearly states that the national legislation is always sovereign. In fact, the term of national legislation was mentioned five times, which means that they take precedence and that they cannot be abolished or ignored, particularly the constitution.”

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