AFP: Kuwait’s government on Wednesday briefed MPs on contingency plans to face a possible outbreak of Iran-US hostilities over Tehran’s nuclear programme, a senior minister and lawmakers said. KUWAIT CITY, May 9, 2007 (AFP) – Kuwait’s government on Wednesday briefed MPs on contingency plans to face a possible outbreak of Iran-US hostilities over Tehran’s nuclear programme, a senior minister and lawmakers said.
A government emergency team briefed parliament’s foreign relations committee on the possibility of Kuwait being attacked or targeted by terrorists if Washington strikes Iran, committee chairman Mohammed al-Sager told reporters.
The meeting was held at the request of parliament and attended by several ministers including Defence and Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah, who heads the emergency team.
“We have briefed MPs with all the preparations we have taken for any future emergency or catastrophe,” Sheikh Jaber said in a statement.
Sager said the discussion also tackled issues like a possible influx of refugees into Kuwait and nuclear fall-out from neighbouring Iran.
Asked if there were indications of a military confrontation that prompted the meeting, Sager said: “There are three (US) aircraft carriers in Gulf waters. They are here either to strike, or to deter Iran.”
Both Sager and parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi however said the preparations were precautionary in nature and played down the possibility of war, expressing hope the US-Iran standoff will be resolved through diplomacy.
“I don’t think there is a danger of a war being waged on Iran … I believe Iran is very keen on preserving stability in the region and is ready to exert every effort for this,” Khorafi told reporters.
Sager who recently visited Iran said he was optimistic that no war will break out. “The Iranians are confident that nothing will happen,” he said.
Two weeks ago, the cabinet formed the team, which includes representatives of the defence, interior, oil and health ministries as well as the fire and civil defence departments.
Sager said MPs were pleased with the government’s preparations which are “much better than during the Iraqi invasion of 1990,” when Iraqi troops rolled over the emirate within a few hours.
“I can say that the government has learnt the lesson from the Iraqi invasion,” he said.
Washington has said it would prefer to address its concerns about Tehran’s nuclear programme diplomatically but refuses to rule out the option of military action.
It has beefed up its military presence in the Gulf and has a second aircraft carrier stationed in the strategic waterway for the first time since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Kuwait served as the launch-pad for that invasion and remains the main staging point for US-led troops in Iraq. Around 15,000 US troops are stationed at several bases in the emirate.