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No plan to bolster US troops in Kuwait: defence minister
by Staff Writers
Kuwait City (AFP) Nov 7, 2011

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 threat.

"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.

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