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Kuwait denies granting citizenship to actors.

Manama: Kuwait's foreign ministry has denied reports circulated on social networks that it has granted the nationality to a group of actors.

"The report about a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official stating that the Kuwaiti nationality has been given to some artists is not true and lacks credibility," a spokesman for the ministry said.

"The ministry never issued a statement about citizenship and the naturalisation process is not within its prerogatives," the spokesman said, quoted by local media.

A similar denial was issued by the interior ministry following the emergence of reports that actors of Iranian, Pakistani and Iraqi origins living in Kuwait had been naturalized in recognition of their special contributions to the country.

"We urge social network users to be truly discerning about claims and allegations and to verify the information they read," the ministry said. "The allegation about granting the Kuwaiti nationality was allegedly signed off by a woman employee. The report is not true and the employee had nothing to do with it. The allegation was made to incite anger among stateless people by creating the impression that the government did not care about them and focused on artists and actors."

Stateless people living in Kuwait have been pressing for their recognition as citizens, but the authorities say that 71,000 of the 105,000 people who are considered stateless in fact hold the nationality of countries such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Earlier this year, the interior minister said that the 34,000 stateless people who qualified for citizenship fell under one of the four groups that included people in the police or army or police, people who were recorded in the 1965 population census, relatives of Kuwaiti nationals and children of Kuwaiti women divorced from foreign husbands.

Salah Al Fadhala, an official tasked with addressing the issue of people staying illegally in the country, on Wednesday said that 275 citizenship applications spanning the four groups would be submitted to the competent authorities.

"That was the third list since the beginning of the year and we are now working on the fourth batch of those who will be eligible for naturalisation," he told Kuwait News Agency (Kuna). "The move is part of the roadmap to address the issue of those staying illegally in the country." The first naturalization list was submitted in February, followed by a second list in April, he said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7KUWA
Date:Aug 23, 2012
Words:415
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