Kuwaiti Defense Minister: Egypt May Join Gulf Arab Defense Pact
Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Al Hamad Al Sabah said Monday that he "does not rule out" an Egyptian role in a recent Gulf Arab defense pact.
Egypt "could directly participate in implementing the joint Gulf defence pact," he said following a trip to Egypt, the Egyptian daily Al Akhbar quoted him as telling a Kuwaiti newspaper.
Sheikh Jaber did not give further details of Cairo's possible role in the Gulf Arab defense plan, but stressed "the need to benefit from Egypt's military experience."
Defense experts told Reuters the new idea involved linking some Gulf systems, like command and control operations, to Egypt across the Red Sea to widen the range of coverage of a planned defense shield for the region.
The six Gulf Arab states are already integrating their military command and control structures to set up an early-warning network to cover the Arabian Peninsula and allow them to coordinate a swift response in case of a threat, said the agency.
Last week, the Kuwait Times said Washington and Cairo had discussed the Gulf defense plan and setting up a defensive "network" with US and Egyptian participation.
Last month, Kuwait's Parliament approved the pact, which also calls for building up - with private sector aid - a military industrial base capable of supplying basic military needs.
The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain agreed on defense cooperation at an annual summit in December 2000 - Albawaba.com
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