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War Spreading, Kuwait's Ruler Says

May 25, 1987|From Reuters

KUWAIT — The ruler of Kuwait, who is seeking superpower protection for his country's vital oil exports, says the Persian Gulf War is spreading and that this is cause for international concern.

"The war has extended even to the big powers," the emir, Sheik Jabbar al Ahmed al Sabah, said in an address Saturday night.

In a bid to stave off Iranian attacks on its shipping, Kuwait has chartered three Soviet tankers--which have Soviet naval escorts--and plans to sail half its own 22-tanker fleet under the American flag to gain U.S. naval protection. Britain and France also have warships in the waterway.

"The sparks of the gulf war are currently spreading, and the pain and risks of the war are no longer limited to those directly responsible," the emir said.

The emir's declaration was Kuwait's first on Persian Gulf shipping since the U.S. frigate Stark was crippled in a missile attack by Iraqi aircraft on May 17, killing 37 sailors.

In Dubai, an Iranian official said Sunday that the presence of superpower warships means the gulf is now a more dangerous place.

Recent events show there is no room for foreign naval forces in the waterway, Hussein Sheikholeslam, deputy foreign minister for political affairs, told reporters during a stop in the United Arab Emirates.

"There is no doubt that an increase of foreign forces in the gulf will create an irreversible situation," he said.

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