Rumsfeld to visit Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain
The dangers posed by Iraq's nuclear ambitions will be a topic of discussion when U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visits the Arab Gulf, but he will not be seeking support for a U.S. invasion, a defense official was quoted Monday by AP.
"We're not at the stage where we're going around soliciting allies for something like that," said the official.
Rumsfeld will leave Tuesday on an extended trip to Europe and the Gulf to discuss the war on terrorism and other issues. He also intends to visit India and Pakistan but the timing has not been set, the official said.
Rumsfeld will begin his trip in Britain on Wednesday. Later he flies to Brussels, Belgium, for meetings at NATO headquarters on Thursday and Friday. Then Rumsfeld will fly to Estonia for a meeting with defense ministers from the Baltic and Nordic nations.
The sequence of visits after Estonia has not been set, the defense officials said, but they will include stops in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. According to AP, it is unusual for a U.S. defense secretary to visit the Gulf without stopping in Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. official who discussed this portion of Rumsfeld's trip said there was no political message in leaving Saudi Arabia off the itinerary. He noted that Rumsfeld had stopped there on his last Gulf tour in October 2001 and had yet to visit Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain during his 17 months in office. (Albawaba.com)
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