Kuwait Mobilizes Troops amid 'Iraqi Threats'
Kuwait has mobilized part of its army following threats made by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as tension escalates in the region, according to officials.
"As a precautionary measure, we have mobilized part of our armed forces, although they have not yet been put on maximum alert," said Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheikh Salim al-Sabah.
"We must be vigilant at all times, because it is impossible to have the least bit of confidence in the Iraqi regime," the official Kuwaiti news agency KUNA quoted the minister as saying.
"The Iraqi regime threatens not only Kuwait but the whole of the Arab world," the minister said.
In a speech Tuesday, the Iraqi President branded Kuwait and Saudi Arabia by implication stooges for the United States and Israel, dubbing their leaders "traitors".
Babel newspaper warned on Monday, "If the treacherous leaders in Kuwait need another lesson, we are more than ready to hand one out to them."
Ten years ago, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait for seven months, sparking the Gulf War.
The emirate's foreign ministry launched a diplomatic offensive on Wednesday in response to the president's threats
The ministry summoned the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, in addition to Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council envoys to "inform them of the gravity of the situation," KUNA reported.
"Kuwait will not tolerate these threats, which can not be taken lightly," Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah was quoted by KUNA as saying.
Kuwait's acting foreign ministry undersecretary Ahmad al-Fahad had met with the foreign ambassadors and told them Kuwait was taking the threats seriously, Sheikh Sabah said.
Parliamentary speaker Jassem al-Khorafi called the president's speech "a threat to Kuwait's security and stability, (which) aborts Arab reconciliation efforts".
The emirate also told the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that Saddam's threats had escalated tension in the region.
In Cairo, Arab League Chief Esmat Abdel Meguid strongly criticized the statement, made in a speech to mark the anniversary of the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
"I deplore what was said in Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's speech. It was totally unsatisfactory," the League's secretary general told reporters.
"He should have looked instead to the future, in order to try to correct the mistakes of the past," he said.
Abdel Meguid said he hoped the comments would not have a "negative effect" on a meeting of the Arab League's ministerial council scheduled for September 3rd in Cairo - KUWAIT (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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