Kuwait Insists US Howitzer Gun Deal still on
Kuwait insisted Thursday that Washington had not cancelled a controversial multi-million-dollar deal with the emirate for 48 Paladin howitzers, but had merely withdrawn the offer to review the price of the artillery.
"The offer is still standing, and the Kuwaiti army still needs the guns," Kuwait's Defense Minister Sheikh Salem al-Sabah told Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.
"The defense ministry has received a letter from the US Embassy asking to withdraw the offered prices for revision. But the offer still stands," Sheikh Salem stressed.
The US Embassy in Kuwait said Wednesday that the withdrawal of the offer was "a routine procedural requirement which calls for a review and revalidation of the original offered prices."
Sheikh Salem said that "technicians and specialists in the defense ministry still believe that the Paladin are the best guns that can be utilized by the Kuwaiti army to boost its combat capability."
"We don't know if the price will be increased or decreased. This will become clear in the near future."
But MP Abdullah al-Naibari, chairman of the Public Funds Protection Committee which recommended against the guns, said Wednesday the 436-million-dollar deal was over.
In its report to parliament on July 9th, the public funds committee said the Paladins did not fulfill Kuwaiti army requirements - KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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