Kuwait Ready to Let U.S. Use Bases Against Iraq — If U.N. Involved

Kuwait said Monday it would allow U.S. forces already in the country to use Kuwaiti bases for an attack on Iraq, but only if military action were approved by the U.N. Security Council.

Kuwaiti armed forces would not, however, take part in a war on Iraq, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, told reporters.

"They [American troops] are here in our bases ... they are here, how can they not use them?" Sheik Sabah said. "If there is a Security Council resolution, they will be used."

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told CNN Sunday that his country would not allow the use of its bases to attack Iraq even with U.N. approval. Earlier the Kingdom had said those facilities could be used if the United Nations were to adopt a resolution supporting military action against Baghdad.

U.S.-led forces liberated Kuwait in 1991 from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. Kuwait and Washington have defense pacts and the tiny Arab state remains one of America's closest Gulf allies, hosting some 10,000 U.S. military personnel.

The United States and Britain want the Security Council to approve a resolution that would threaten Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with retaliation if he fails to give U.N. weapons inspectors full access to his country.

Washington accuses Saddam of possessing banned weapons of mass destruction in violation of the resolutions that called on Iraq to disarm following the Gulf War.

France, China and Russia, who all have veto power, have resisted the U.S.-British demand, saying Iraq should be given a chance to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.