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Gulf Nations Meet to Meld Their Support for Kuwait

October 25, 1987|From Reuters

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Persian Gulf Arab foreign ministers set out Saturday to forge a common response to escalation of the Iran-Iraq War, which has drawn in Kuwait.

Meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council called for solidarity with Kuwait, plagued by a series of missile and bomb attacks and linked by a defense pact with the five other Gulf Council members.

"Attacks on Kuwait are regarded as aggression on the sovereignty and independence of a country not involved in the Iran-Iraq conflict and a violation of international charters and obligations," the conference chairman, Rashid Abdullah Nuaimi, said in opening remarks.

Nuaimi, minister of state for foreign affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said Gulf Council states fully back Kuwait, adding that the security of the six states is indivisible.

Seeking to 'Evade Dangers'

The official Saudi Press Agency said the ministers, meeting soon after reports of a new bomb blast in the Kuwaiti capital, were discussing "the grave situation in the gulf following the heightened tensions there . . . in order to evade dangers and distance the region from possible tensions."

A senior official was quoted as saying the ministers will take a collective stand in the face of aggression against one member. The other five are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

"GCC states should not remain silent toward those attacks which require a serious, unified action to back Kuwait and deter aggression against it," Saif Maskari, the organization's political affairs under secretary, said in an interview with the Dubai newspaper Al Bayan.

Not Looking for a War

Maskari said that the council is not thinking of waging war against anyone. "We are not seeking war, nor do we contemplate a confrontation with any party."

Diplomats in the region said that although military action appears out of the question, Saudi Arabia wanted the council to condemn Iran as an aggressor. This would strengthen its hand in seeking a similar condemnation at a planned Arab summit conference in Amman on Nov. 8.

Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have blamed Iran for launching a missile Thursday that smashed into Kuwait's main oil-export terminal at Al Ahmadi.

But some of the Arab states across the gulf from Iran are seen as reluctant to condemn Iran by name for fear of provoking Tehran into drawing more Arab states into the conflict.

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