Kuwaiti emir transfers some duties to crown prince
The brief statement published by the state-run KUNA news agency said only that the government had issued an order for the crown prince to assume some duties of the 84-year-old ruling emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah. In the past, the royal office has made the move due to a ruler's poor health.
Last year, when the late Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah underwent surgery, the oil-rich nation's crown prince took on some of his powers temporarily. Kuwait’s information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Given Sheikh Nawaf's age, the move raises concerns about his health. State-run news previously reported that he traveled to the United States for unspecified medical checks in March. The health of Kuwait’s leaders remains a sensitive matter in the tiny Middle East nation that has seen internal power struggles behind palace doors.
The decree comes at a delicate time for the sheikhdom. The government resigned last week as tensions escalated between the parliament and cabinet. The emir issued a long-awaited pardon for scores of self-exiled dissidents.
Kuwait, a nation home to 4.1 million people that’s slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves. It has been a staunch U.S. ally since the 1991 Gulf War expelled the occupying Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein.