Skip to comments.U.S. Withdrawal From Saudi Arabia Is Not on the Cards: U.S. Official.
Posted on 01/20/2002 1:56:47 PM PST by Jean S
KUWAIT (AP) - A withdrawal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia is not on the table, a State Department official said Sunday.
Lincoln Bloomfield, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, was referring to a report in The Washington Post last week that said Saudi Arabia may soon ask the United States to withdraw its forces from the kingdom because they have stayed too long.
"I did not discuss any kind of reduction at all," Bloomfield told reporters of his talks in Saudi Arabia, which he visited before Kuwait.
Bloomfield said his tour of eight Middle Eastern countries was designed to see how Washington should shape its security cooperation with friendly governments.
Speaking of his talks with the Saudis, Bloomfield said: "We expressed a great appreciation for the cooperation we have enjoyed for many years, and we expect to enjoy good cooperation and very good relations well into the indefinite future."
U.S. forces have been stationed in Saudi Arabia since the 1990 buildup to the 1991 Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from a seven-month Iraqi occupation. They are based primarily at Prince Sultan Air Base south of Riyadh, the capital.
Bloomfield said Washington was in close touch with Kuwait concerning any Kuwaiti nationals "who may be involved" with the al-Qaida terror group. He would not provide any details.
Kuwait supported the United States' war in Afghanistan that has toppled the Taliban regime and their al-Qaida allies, the prime suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks.
However, Kuwait's politically strong Islamic fundamentalists oppose the war and scores of its members are believed to have fought with al-Qaida.