US Can Use Kuwait Bases For UN-backed Iraq War

Kuwait, November 4: | Updated: Nov 5 2002, 05:30am hrs
Kuwait said on Monday the United States, whose forces freed it from Iraqi occupation 11 years ago, could use its military facilities in a war against Iraq if it were sanctioned by the United Nations (UN).

But the Gulf States foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmadal-Sabah, said his countrys armed forces would not take part in any military operation against its neighbour.

If a (UN Security Council) resolution is issued, the bases will be used, but not the Kuwaiti military, he said.

This is not in the hands of the Security Council. We support the resolutions but will not be forced to participate with our army, the Sheikh, who has been running the day-to-day affairs of Kuwait for several years, told reporters.

Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally of the United States, said on Sunday it would not allow American forces to use its bases for any attack against Iraq, even if a strike had UN sanction.

Sheikh Sabah said US forces deployed in Kuwait would be able to use the facilities under a joint defence pact with Washington which governs the presence of US troops in the oil-rich state since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

They are in our bases, so how can they not use them, Sheikh Sabah said of the pact. The United States and Saudi Arabia do not have a similar formal accord. Kuwait signed defence pacts with all five permanent membersof the UN Security Council Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China after the Gulf War.

Reuters