Cairo: Kuwait’s first oil minister Abdulmutallab Al Kazemi, who was a witness to the 1975 assassination of Saudi king Faisal bin Abdulaziz, has passed away after long struggle against illness, local media reported. He was 84.
Al Kazemi, an-ex member of parliament, was appointed in 1975 as the first oil minister in Kuwait after the ministry was separated from that of finance. He held the post for three years and witnessed the country’s nationalisation of its oil ministry.
He is credited with setting up the first directorate for oil marketing in the country.
In March 1975, he was on a visit to Saudi Arabia and while shaking a hand with then king Faisal, the latter was shot dead, an incident that Al Kazemi later described as a “mind-defying moment and a chilling shock”.
Al Kazemi himself was the victim of a hostage-taking saga. In 1975 winter when he was attending his first meeting as an oil minister at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna as an oil minister, the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal stormed the meeting hall and took the conferees hostages for almost two days.
Later, Al Kazemi called the incident a “horrifying experience”.
Speaking about Carlos, Al Kazemi said: “He spoke Arabic and other languages. What struck me was that he was handsome and wore classy clothes. He said he had visited Kuwait twice and noticed that prices of alcohol on the black market were high.”