Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al Abdullah al Sabah, the Kuwaiti prime minister and second in power behind the emir, returned to his homeland from seven months in exile just five days after allied troops recaptured the country from Iraqi forces.

The crown prince, traveling with members of his 22-minister Cabinet, knelt and kissed the tarmac Monday at the war-damaged Kuwait International Airport after stepping from a Saudi C-130 transport plane that carried him home from exile in the kingdom.He waved to applauding Kuwaitis and American troops as he stepped from the C-10 and later told a group of dignitaries, which included the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Canada, "I am very happy to be here."