KUWAIT: Kuwait’s new Emir was sworn in at parliament on Wednesday as the country laid to rest late ruler Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad al Sabah, a Gulf Arab elder statesman who helped steer his people through some of the Middle East’s most turbulent decades.

The cabinet named designated successor Crown Prince Shaikh Nawaf Al Ahmad al Sabah as ruler on Tuesday after the death of Shaikh Sabah, 91, whose body arrived in Kuwait on Wednesday from the United States, were he had been hospitalised since July. Shaikh Nawaf, 83, pledged to work for the Opec member country’s prosperity, stability and security after taking the oath of office, raising both hands to his head as lawmakers applauded.

“Our dear nation today faces difficult situations and dangerous challenges that can only be overcome… by unifying ranks and working hard together’’, he told the National Assembly. Dignitaries from around the world paid respects to the seasoned diplomat and savvy politician, widely respected as a humanitarian who strove to heal rifts in the Middle East, mending ties with Iraq, maintaining dialogue with Iran and championing the Palestinian cause. “We honestly feel like we’re gong to be lost without his guidance’’, said Fajer, a Kuwaiti woman. — Agencies

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