RIYADH (RAHNUMA): Leaders across the world have offered tributes to Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah following his death earlier on Tuesday.
Sheikh Sabah was widely respected for his leadership and as a seasoned diplomat who could mediate across the region’s divides.
Condolence messages streamed in from across the region and from Western countries soon after news of his death broke on state television.
Sheikh Sabah “was an extraordinary symbol of wisdom and generosity, a messenger of peace, a bridge-builder,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The UAE’s Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, described the late emir as “a great pioneer in Gulf cooperation.” The UAE also announced a three-day mourning period.
In Saudi Arabia, the royal court said the emir died after a journey full of achievement and generous service to his country and humanity. The Kuwaiti emir left behind “a procession full of achievements and endeavors exerted to best serve his country, the Arab as well as the Islamic nations and the entire humanity,” the statement said.
The US Ambassador to Kuwait Alina Romanowski called Sheikh Sabah a “popular leader and special friend of the US.”
The embassy said he “devoted his life to peace and regional stability.”British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said Sheikh Sabah “made a personal contribution to regional stability and humanitarian assistance which will long be remembered.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said described Al Sabah as “a great humanitarian leader and a true friend of the United Kingdom.”
“He served Kuwait for many years with dedication, and as a founding father of the GCC he contributed over many decades to maintaining peace and stability in the region.”
In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi expressed “great sadness” over Sheikh Sabah’s death, recalling the long-standing “fraternal stance” of the emir toward Egypt.
Egypt also announced three days of mourning over the emir’s passing.
In Lebanon, where the late Kuwaiti leader played a key role in trying to end the country’s ruinous 1975-90 civil war and later helped with its reconstruction, politicians offered their condolences.
“With the death of Sheikh Sabah, Lebanon has lost a great brother who stood by the Lebanese during the difficult circumstances over the past years,” said a statement from Lebanese President Michel Aoun.