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Kuwait urges reconsidered negotiations with IOC

KUWAIT: The head of the Kuwaiti government negotiation delegation for roadmap meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday called for reconsidering the current way of negotiations between Kuwait and the IOC over the “unfair” Olympic suspension of Kuwaiti sports.

Dr Mohammad Alfili said the Kuwaiti move came following recent claims by IOC Deputy Director General for Relations Pere Miro that the Kuwaiti government had twice approved a draft deal with the IOC that was formulated during a Geneva meeting last January.

He voiced regret at the issuance of such “false claims and baseless statements” against Kuwait and its negotiation team, confirming that the IOC’s team was not serious about finding a solution to lift the suspension of Kuwaiti sports. The IOC’s suspension decision was based on misleading information claiming that Kuwaiti sports laws are not in compliance with the Olympic Charter and international sports regulations, he said. It was built on “side issues and questions as the IOC insisted during the negotiations on putting on table the extension of the deal between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Kuwaiti government which had recently severed its relationship with the OCA.

“Raising this issue pushes us to believe that the suspension decision whose reasons were announced officially, was not, in fact, due to the problem of sports laws, since it reflected a deliberate attempt to raise side issues and questions that have nothing to do whatsoever with the decision itself,” Alfili lamented.

Asked if the Kuwaiti government negotiation team would continue its task, he said the team can do nothing but only to present recommendations and overtures to the Kuwaiti government in this regard.

“It is the Kuwaiti government which can decide whether or not the negotiation team can pursue its mission as the IOC’s delegation was neither serious nor honest during the negotiations,” he added.

However, Alfili underlined the Kuwaiti delegation’s keenness on the confidentiality of negotiations with the IOC’s team out of the former’s commitment to moral and legal rules, given that the UN participated in negotiations.

Miro was not a member of the IOC negotiation team during the meeting with the UN. Thus, it is shocking that he confidently gives statements pretending that he was part of the negotiations, he said. To clarify, the Kuwaiti delegation sat with three representatives from the IOC, none of whom were Miro. Either the IOC is intentionally delivering wrong messages to the world, or Miro has taken it upon himself to deliberately make false claims, he noted.

He reiterated that the negotiation delegation had refused the proposed roadmap from the IOC because they requested that the Kuwaiti delegation give approval for changing the laws of Kuwait.

“Kuwait is a democratic country with due process to follow – should a law need amending it must be voted on at the Parliament. Therefore, no delegation from our country has the right to approve such requests,” the team head elaborated.
It was clear that the IOC suspended the Kuwait Olympic Committee on misleading information, which was clearly meant by the latest amendments to the sports legislations.

He went on to say: “At the end of our meeting, representatives from the IOC said that they understood our position, but at the same time they could not lose face in front of the international sport community. This is why the word ‘amendment’ had to be included in the roadmap proposal, despite the fact that the Kuwait Government clearly explained and clarified the situation in an executive regulation issued by the public authority of sports board of directors.”

Furthermore, the United Nation also witnessed Kuwait’s refusal of the IOC’s proposal to amend the Kuwaiti laws as they are in compliance with the Olympic charter and international sports regulations, Alfili noted. The Kuwaiti Government has never signed any agreement, so Miro’s claims that it approved a draft deal is categorically untrue, he said, asking Miro to come up with any signed document, if found. “As Mr Miro has revealed pieces of the negotiation, we must respond and let the international world of sport know the entire situation. The IOC invited the Kuwaiti Government to the negotiating table under the assumption of the autonomy of sport, but in fact it used this bargaining chip in order to have the Olympic Council of Asia agreement renewed and have the legal cases against the IOC withdrawn in order to lift the suspension on the Kuwait Olympic Committee,” he said. “Kuwait has always stood ready to discuss with the IOC and solve any misunderstandings, but we do not appreciate when an IOC representative openly misrepresents the facts of a meeting and tries to discredit our team to the international sport world,” he added.

“Out of respect for the mediation of the United Nations, we agreed to meet with the IOC in Geneva on January 22 as well as to keep what happened in the Road Map meeting out of the media. However, as the IOC has not kept its word, they have left us no choice but to explain our position and if needed provide the correct documentation of the events in the meeting,” Alfili affirmed.

On October 27th, the Public Authority for Sports had rejected the IOC’s decision suspending the Kuwait Olympic Committee due to allegations that Kuwait’s local laws contradict the Olympic Charter. -KUNA

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