Manama: The US Ambassador to Kuwait has denied claims that the meeting between Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad and President Donald Trump in Washington was impromptu.
The Emir’s visit was not hastily arranged as claimed by some media and had been, in fact, diligently planned and prepared over several months, Lawrence R. Silverman said.
The US is always ready to welcome the Emir and President Trump is interested in his opinions, and the two leaders have met three times in addition to the regular communications between them, the ambassador said, according to Kuwaiti reports.
Hezbollah’s TV station in Lebanon, Al Manar, on September 13 aired an interview with journalist Salem Zahran in which he denigrated Arab leaders.
The journalist alleged that Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad was forced by US President Donald Trump during an impromptu five-minute meeting to cancel contracts with Chinese firms worth $11 billion.
He said the US “forced” Al Sabah to not only give the same projects to US companies for $14 billion, but also pay $50 million to a US law firm to handle the cancellation of oil contracts with China and replace them with contracts with US companies.
Leading Lebanese officials, including Prime Minister-designate Sa’ad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri and Mufti Abdul Latef Daryan, stepped up a campaign to limit the damage as the country came under scathing criticism.
Last week, Lebanon’s State Prosecutor of Cassation Judge Samir Hammoud referred the case of Zahran before the Beirut Prosecution of Appeal, after hearing his testimony over statements he made during the interview on Al Manar.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Information had strongly condemned Zahran’s allegations, saying that they represented “defamation, slander, the falsification of facts and an attempt to mislead the public”.
“These allegations are far from reality, containing offensive remarks that reveal evil and malicious intentions which will never impact the ... historical relations between Lebanon and Kuwait,” it said.