Kuwait City: The Kuwaiti defence minister has
denied reports about plans to bolster US troops in the Gulf
emirate after their withdrawal from Iraq by year`s end, local
media reported on Monday.
"Not at all. We have (no plan) to relocate US troops to
Kuwait or increase their numbers," Sheikh Jaber Mubarak
Al-Sabah was cited as saying by Al-Watan newspaper.
"They (US troops) will only pass through Kuwait from Iraq
(on their way) to the United States. Their presence is
governed by the US-Kuwait (defence) pact and nothing will
surpass this agreement," the minister said.
The 10-year defence pact expires next year.
Around 23,000 US troops are permanently stationed at
Arifjan in Kuwait, one of the largest military bases in the
Gulf. The emirate has been used as a transit point for US
troops both to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Kuwaiti minister`s comments came in response to
reports that Washington was studying options to relocate some
of the 39,000 US troops due to leave Iraq to neighbouring
Kuwait apparently due to concerns over the perceived Iranian
"We will not allow or accept for our country to be used as
a launching pad for attacks on any state, not Iran or others,"
Sheikh Jaber said.