Kuwait cabinet quits to avoid ministers` grilling

The Kuwait government resigned as parliament was to question three ministers.

Cairo: The Kuwait government resigned Thursday, the official news agency KUNA reported, after parliament filed an application to question three ministers.

The cabinet had been expected to quit after the ministers, all relatives of the emir, were set to be grilled by legislators over allegations of impropriety and administrative violations.

Among the cabinet members due to be questioned was Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, who also serves as information minister.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah was expected to accept the resignation and reappoint Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah to form a new government, according to Kuwait media.

It is not unusual for parliament to try to call ministers to account for their actions. However, the ruling family considers it a breach of their honour if a relative of the emir has to justify himself to the legislature.

In addition to the oil minister, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah and the minister for economy, construction and development, Sheikh Ahmed al-Fahd al-Sabah, had been called for questioning.

Several members of parliament have said the motion had nothing to do with the upheavals in the Arab world.

But Shiite Muslim opposition lawmaker Saleh Ashour said he wanted to question the foreign minister because he had "failed to safeguard the integrity and interests of the country in the face of insults from Bahrain", according to the Kuwait Times.

Ashour said that highly offensive statements were made against a number of Kuwaiti Shiite families, his included, on Bahrain state television over the weekend.

Kuwait sent troops to Bahrain, after a request by the government there was made to neighbouring Gulf States, to help quell anti-government protests led by the Shiite majority against the Sunni minority monarchy.