Kuwait to Take Part in Egyptian War Games for the First Time
Kuwait will participate for the first time in Egypt's Bright Star military exercise to be held later this month, reported the Middle East Newsline (MENL) on Monday.
Officials said Kuwait would send several hundred troops to Bright Star, which will be attended by 12 other countries, including the US and the UK.
Egypt and Kuwait have discussed an expansion of defense cooperation, including arms sales and joint military exercise and training.
Cairo has been lobbying Kuwait to purchase an Egyptian air defense system. But a visit over the summer by Kuwaiti Defense Minister Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah was said to have failed to resolve a disagreement over price, earlier reports said.
Over the weekend, MENL said that the Kuwaiti minister met the Egyptian ambassador to the Gulf state, Mahmoud Wagdi Abu Zeid. The meeting reviewed defense relations between the two countries.
An earlier report by the news service said that Egypt had offered to help Gulf Arab nations with regional defense efforts.
Gulf sources were quoted by MENL in mid July as saying Egypt had broached the subject with several of its allies in the Gulf. The latest mention was made during the Kuwaiti defense minister to Cairo.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was said to have raised the issue with both Washington and several Gulf countries.
The sources said a previous Egyptian offer aroused little interest, particularly from such countries as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
As a result, the sources said, Cairo had revised its offer and stressed that it does not intend to deploy troops in the Gulf. Instead, the plans are based on the interoperability between Gulf and Egyptian early warning and command and control systems.
This would allow the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to monitor threats from the direction of the Red Sea. The new Egyptian offer had been discussed with the United States, said the report at the time.
Sabah had said during his Cairo visit that the GCC could benefit from Egypt's military expertise and defense industries.
Sabah said that he "does not rule out" an Egyptian role in a recent Gulf Arab defense agreement.
Egypt "could directly participate in implementing the joint Gulf defense pact," he said following Egypt trip, quoted by a Kuwaiti newspaper – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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