Kuwaiti minister accused of links to Jihadists quits

AFP , Monday 12 May 2014

Kuwait's Islamic Affairs Minister Nayef al-Ajmi, accused by a senior US official of promoting jihad in Syria, said on Monday the Gulf state ruler has accepted his resignation.

"I thank the emir for accepting my resignation and understanding its reasons," Ajmi, who also holds the justice portfolio, said on his Twitter account without explaining the reasons.

Local media says he has quit for health reasons.

This is the second time in about five weeks that Ajmi says he has resigned.

In early April he submitted his resignation following accusations by a US official that he had links with Jihadists in Syria but it was turned down by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

The US Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, charged earlier this year that Ajmi "has a history of promoting jihad in Syria".

His appointment as minister in January was a "step in the wrong direction", Cohen said in a lecture in the United States, parts of which were carried by the Kuwaiti press in March.

A statement released after a March 31 cabinet meeting said ministers had followed Cohen's comments "with great attention and displeasure".

Ajmi acknowledged he had taken part in fund-raising campaigns for Syria, but insisted they had been for humanitarian purposes and not for Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front as alleged by Cohen.

Last month Ajmi said he had been unwell and undergoing tests in London when the reports of Cohen's comments surfaced in the Kuwaiti media, prompting him to cut short the tests and head home.

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