Many Kuwaitis have voiced their anger at a recent state visit invite sent to Tunisian parliament speaker and Islamist Ennhadha party leader Rached Ghannouchi, recalling his pro-Iraqi invasion of Kuwait stance and saying he was a persona non grata.
Ghannouchi was afforded an invite by Kuwait’s parliament to visit the country as part of protocol given his position as the Tunisian parliament speaker, according to Marzouq al-Ghanim, the current speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly.
Kuwaiti writers and former ministers said Ghannouchi would not be welcomed in the country by citizens given the former’s support of the Iraqi invasion of their country in 1990 by late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
“Ghannouchi was one of the strongest supporters of the 1990 invasion and was threatening the countries that contributed to the liberation of Kuwait and threatening others. Given the historical background, how can he be afforded a state visit invite? He has never apologized for his stance but has rather continued on the same path and narrative,” said Hajjaj Bukhdhur, a Kuwaiti political analyst.
Following the uproar in Kuwait, al-Ghanim clarified in a statement late on Friday that the invite to Ghannouchi to visit Kuwait was preliminary and part of protocols and that there was no order to formally activated or confirm a visit.
According to al-Ghanim, the invitation on was sent last February 9 and its delivery was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It must be clarified that the protocol invitation does not mean that the visit will actually take place, as the actual visit procedures require many things,” al-Ghanim said in his statement.