(MENAFN - Arab Times) The Kuwaiti Government will consider recommendations tabled by the National Assembly regarding the situation in Syria, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah said Sunday.
"We appreciate the recommendations taken by the Assembly in its last session, as they will be reviewed by the government," Al-Jarallah told reporters after attending a meeting of the Assembly's foreign affairs committee earlier today.
"We listened to MPs 'valuable' comments, as well as ideas on the issue... We would benefit from this discussion in our diplomatic action, either on regional or international levels," he said.
Al-Jarallah asserted that the discussions were "clear and frank", hoping for such meetings to continue "in Kuwait's best interests."
As for whether there were any reservations on the side of the Government on the matter, he said "there was no notion tabled to be reserved over... Au contraire, everyone interacted with what has been said." On March 1, and before the Assembly's session to address the distressful situation in Syria, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said that Kuwait has shown its adherence to its regional and international obligations, always seeking peaceful resolutions to momentous problems threatening world peace.
On the GCC-Russia meeting, he said "it has been postponed and the Russian side was informed about it... GCC foreign ministers saw the meeting's timing 'inconvenient' due to their current appointments. A new date will be set after contacts." The second ministerial GCC-Russia meeting on strategic dialogue was due to take place in Moscow. The first was hosted by Abu Dhabi in November 2011.
Meanwhile, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has donated USD five million, on behalf of Al-Sabah family, to help alleviate suffering of the Syrian people, a charitable official said Sunday.
Chairman of the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) Dr Abdullah Al-Maatouq said the donation of His Highness the Amir was in support of IICO's popular campaign it was launching with the Kuwait TV.
In a statement, Al-Maatouq said the donation was an affirmation of Kuwait's relentless support to the brotherly and friendly peoples who were facing difficult humane conditions.
Al-Maatouq called on the Kuwaiti people to contribute to the campaign to help the Syrian people.
Meanwhile, four children were among seven civilians killed in shelling by regime forces of the mainly rebel-held city of Rastan in central Syria on Sunday, a monitoring group said.
The victims included six members of one family killed when a rocket slammed into their home, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which reported intensive shelling of Rastan since daybreak.
"Seven people, six of them family members and including a woman and four children, were killed when a rocket hit a house in Rastan," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman, whose watchdog earlier gave a death toll of three.
Abdel Rahman told AFP that "positions of deserters in the north of Rastan have been subject to intensive shelling."
Army deserters were routed from the Baba Amr district of the nearby city of Homs on Thursday and had since been bracing for an onslaught on Rastan and Qusayr, another town near Homs, according to the Britain-based Observatory.
The rebel fighters declared Rastan to be "liberated" from President Bashar al-Assad's control on Feb 5. Rastan is a strategic city as, like Homs, it is on the main road linking Damascus with northern Syria.
The rebels fled Baba Amr in the face of a withering ground assault by regime forces following a 27-day shelling blitz which the US-based Human Rights Watch said had killed some 700 people.
The Red Cross delivered emergency aid to areas around the battered Baba Amro district of the Syrian city of Homs on Sunday, but was blocked for a third day from entering the former rebel bastion amid reports of bloody reprisals by state forces.
Activists reported shelling and other violence across Syria, sending one of the biggest surges of refugees across the border into Lebanon in a single day since a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began a year ago.
Concerns mounted for civilians stranded in Baba Amro in freezing weather with little food, fuel or medicine after weeks in a state of siege and under near-constant shelling by Syrian forces intent on crushing the uprising.
"We have the green light, we hope to enter, we hope today is the day," said the International Committee of the Red Cross' Damascus-based spokesman Saleh Dabbakeh, declining to comment on what he said were sensitive talks with Syrian officials.
"We are very concerned about the people in Baba Amro."
The ICRC said it had been prevented from entering Baba Amro by Syrian forces despite receiving government permission, a move activists said was to hide "massacres" by the Syrian army.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday he had received "grisly reports" that troops were executing and torturing people in Homs after insurgents abandoned their positions.
Syrian state television showed the gory corpses of anti-Assad fighters killed in clashes in the suburbs of the city of Hama, as well as an array of captured weapons, including arms it said were US and Israeli-made.
In a sign of mounting chaos, one activist reported that the Syrian army had raided a girls school in Daraya, near Damascus, beating students for holding an anti-Assad protest and threatening to open fire on similar demonstrations in future.
In a house in the Douma suburb of Damascus, the activist told Reuters by Skype that the Syrian army had killed two defectors and seven other people who had been harbouring them.
Other activists reported government raids in Hama in which one young man was shot dead, and heavy shelling in the town of Rastan, north of Homs, where rebels have been hiding.
"Residents told me that shelling started early this morning shortly after helicopters and spotter planes were seen above the town," said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Clashes between Free Syrian Army defectors and Syrian troops were reported in Jebel al-Zawiya in Syria's north, and activists said government forces had used tear gas to end an anti-Assad protest of around 1,000 people in the northern city of Aleppo.
In another development, China warned other powers on Sunday not to use humanitarian aid for Syria to "interfere" in the strife-torn Middle Eastern country, while urging unity in the UN Security Council after a split with Western powers over the crisis.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry laid out its stance on Syria as the Security Council contemplates a new resolution, after two previous ones were stymied by Chinese and Russian vetoes.
Even China, which has talked up room for compromise between Syrian government and opposition forces, sounded bleak about the unstinting violence.
"It is deeply worrying that the situation in Syria remains grave. Violent clashes are continuing, political dialogue still cannot start, and the prospects of a peaceful settlement to the crisis are still dim," said the statement from an unnamed "leading official" in China's Foreign Ministry.
The unusually long five-point statement in English appeared to be Beijing's effort to lay down its position for any fresh international action authorised by the UN Security Council.
Western powers have proposed a United Nations resolution authorising humanitarian aid. And the newly appointed UN-Arab League envoy on the Syria crisis, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is seeking to staunch the violence.
The body of US journalist Marie Colvin, killed in Syria along with French photographer Remi Ochlik, is to be repatriated "as soon as possible" after arriving in Paris on Sunday, the US embassy said.
"I can confirm that her remains are here and will be repatriated to the US as soon as possible," US embassy spokeswoman Sophie Roy-Sultan told AFP.
The bodies of Colvin, 56, and Ochlik, 28, arrived in Paris from Damascus early on Sunday after they were killed in a rocket attack in the rebel Baba Amr neighbourhood of the besieged Syrian city Homs on Feb 22.
The bodies had been formally identified in Damascus on Friday by French and Polish diplomats.
Colvin's employer, Britain's Sunday Times, said earlier that her body was expected to be flown to the United States on Monday or Tuesday.
Al-Qaeda militants overran an army base in southern Yemen on Sunday, capturing heavy weapons and turning them on soldiers in intense clashes that left 61 dead, a military official said.
The battle near the town of Zinjibar in the southern province of Abyan killed 36 government troops and 25 of the militants, he said. A medical official confirmed the death toll. Scores were wounded from both sides, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The official said the fighting was taking place west of Abyan's provincial capital of Zinjibar. Militants seized control of the town in May, taking advantage of political turmoil linked to the uprising against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh stepped down last month in a US-backed power transfer deal that Washington hoped would allow Yemen's new leaders to move against al-Qaeda. But the fighting highlights the difficulties faced by his successor Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in combatting the militant movement and restoring state authority in the lawless south.
The military officials said the militants were able to seize armored vehicles, artillery pieces, assault rifles and rockets from the stores of an army base they attacked. Some of the heavy weapons were later used against the troops, causing most of the casualties.
A Defense Ministry statement confirmed that the clashes had occurred, saying the fighting began when militants detonated "booby trapped vehicles" at an army base in the region of Koud near Zinjibar. The wording of the statement suggested that the base had been occupied by the militants before army forces regrouped and took it back.
Meanwhile, a "mysterious" blast ripped through a Yemeni military plane at a air force base near Sanaa international airport on Sunday without causing any casualties, an airport technician told AFP.
"An Antonov aircraft blew up in mysterious circumstances while it was on the tarmac at Dulaimi air force base," the technician said, adding that no one was reported hurt in the explosion.
"There are no casualties as a result of the explosion, and the reasons for it are still unknown," he added.
Last year overnight blasts rocked the air base adjacent to the international airport, destroying three Yemeni fighter jets and damaging several others.
Officials said that the Oct 30 blasts were apparently caused by explosives planted on the warplanes.
"Unknown assailants appear to have planted explosive devices in the fighter jets which were loaded with ammunition in preparation for a combat mission planned for Monday morning," a military official said at the time.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya announced on Saturday that it has formed a political party after six decades in the shadows of dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
The Islamist group declared the creation of the Justice and Development Party in the absence of laws laying out a formal process for the establishment of political parties.
The Brotherhood's spokesman, Mohamed Gaair, said the group has representation in more than 18 cities across the country, and that more than 1,400 members attended Friday's meeting in Tripoli to declare the formation of the political party.
They chose as party leader Mohamed Sowan, a native of the city of Misrata, which saw some of the worst fighting in the civil war that brought down Gaddafi and has since become distrustful of authority based elsewhere in the country.
Sowan worked as a hotel manager and was a political prisoner under the Gadhafi regime for eight years until 2006.
Gaair said that the Brotherhood has had a presence in Libya since 1949, but that many of its leaders were jailed under Gaddafi or exiled.
Several prominent former rebel leaders fighting to oust Gaddafi were associated with the movement, but the group does not have any officials in the transitional government.
Now, the Brotherhood is considered the most organized movement in Libya to have nationwide support. Supporters include wealthy businessmen who returned to the country after last year's civil war ended, opening up civil society groups and charitable funds throughout the war-ravaged country.
A Libyan committee on missing persons said on Sunday that it had recovered the bodies of 163 people who were killed in the 2011 conflict that toppled the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
"The discovery of 163 bodies out of 400 missing from the regions of eastern Libya is an incredible achievement," Maher Warfalli of the committee of missing persons told AFP, without specifying when the grave was found.
Libya's leadership has apologised after armed men smashed the graves of British and Italian soldiers killed during World War Two, in an act of vandalism that bore the hallmarks of radical Islamists.
Amateur video footage of the attack, posted on social networking site Facebook, showed men casually kicking over headstones in a war cemetery and using sledge hammers to smash a metal and stone cross.
One man can be heard saying: "This is a grave of a Christian" as he uprooted a headstone from the ground. Another voice says of those buried in the cemetery: "These are dogs."
The attack happened in the eastern city of Benghazi, near where British and Commonwealth troops fought heavy battles against German and Italian forces during the 1939-45 war.
The National Transitional Council (NTC), Libya's interim leadership since last year's uprising forced out Muammar Gaddafi, said it would pursue those responsible.
"The NTC apologises for the incident with the foreign graves, especially the British and Italian graves," the council said in a statement. "This action is not in keeping with Islam."