Israeli companies refused entry to Gulf arms fair
Israeli arms manufacturers have been refused entry into the IDEX international defense show in the Emirati capital, a newspaper reported on Sunday, March 11. Brigadier Staff Sultan Al-Suwaidi, chairman of the organizing committee, quoted in Al-Ittihad, said "several Israeli companies had sent requests to take part" in the exhibition which opens in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
"Our response was negative because we respect the resolutions adopted by the Arab League on boycotting Israel," Suwaidi said. Suwaidi said a total of 850 arms manufacturers from 42 countries are to take part in the five-day defense exhibition, which has been held in Abu Dhabi every two years since 1993.
IDEX was launched on the back of a huge armaments drive in the Gulf in the wake of the 1991 war over Kuwait, just three years after the end of the 1980-1988 conflict between Iraq and Iran.
Britain, which is sending the minister of state for defense procurement, Baroness Symons, will be the largest exhibitor in this year's IDEX, with more than 100 companies taking part. The United States, on whom the Gulf Arab monarchies depend for their security, will be represented by 65 companies.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) heads of state signed a long-delayed common defense pact in Bahrain in December pledging "to defend any member state which comes under a foreign threat or danger."
The GCC has a 5,000-strong force, set up in 1986 and based in the northeastern Saudi town of Hafr Al-Batin, and it is considering expanding the force called "Peninsula Shield" to 22,000 men. The force was ineffective against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.
The six-member GCC, which groups the United Arab Emirates with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, is also examining a radar network project costing $88 million. — (AFP, Abu Dhabi)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)