Pentagon Ceremony Marks Kuwait as Major
By Jim Garamone
States and Kuwait pledged today to stand by each other, marking
the pledge with a Pentagon ceremony in honor of Kuwait being designated
a major non-NATO ally of America.
Donald H. Rumsfeld told the Kuwaiti defense minister and foreign
minister that they "honor us by joining us in alliance with
our country, and by your commitment to our mutual security."
A full honor
ceremony was scheduled for the Pentagon’s parade ground, but torrential
rain moved activities inside. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheik Muhammad
Sabah al-Hamad al Sabah said that in his country rain is regarded
as a good omen.
Defense Minister Sheik Jabir Mubarak al-Hamad al Sabah and the
foreign minister that Americans are grateful for Kuwait’s friendship.
"We thank both of you and your country for all you have done
and are doing to defend freedom in this dangerous new century,"
friendship goes back to the founding of the Persian Gulf nation
in 1961, it took on new meaning in 1990 when Saddam Hussein’s
troops invaded the oil-rich nation. In 1991, the United States
led a coalition that expelled Iraqi troops.
11, 2001, it was the United States that suffered a brutal act
of aggression, and in America’s hours of need, Kuwait was there,
a steadfast friend and ally, and a critical member of the coalition
in the global war on terror," Rumsfeld said.
supported Operation Iraqi Freedom and allowed troops of the coalition
to stage out of northern Kuwait into Iraq last year. "Kuwait
has been at the forefront of the coalition efforts to help the
Iraqi people take hold of their country and begin their recovery
from decades of repression," Rumsfeld said.
Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia,
New Zealand, Bahrain, Egypt, Argentina and Israel as designated
major non-NATO allies of the United States. Pakistan will become
a major non-NATO ally April 22.
together in this fashion as formal allies conveys not only the
deepest respect, but also durable responsibilities, and that’s
entirely appropriate," said Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage at the ceremony. "Indeed, today we are not truly
embarking on a new relationship; we are recognizing a long- standing
and strong partnership, one founded on mutual strategic interests
and long-term security, and forged in the hot fires of war as
well as liberation."
defense minister thanked Rumsfeld and Armitage for their comments
and the United States for the honor. He said the designation "reflects
the warm and close relationships between our two countries."
said it is the shared beliefs and value systems that have allowed
the United States and Kuwait to stand together in the Middle East.
"This alliance between us will continue and will become stronger
as we proceed in our war against all forms of extremism and terrorism,"
said the United States can count on Kuwait as it continues operations
in Iraq and against terrorist groups around the world. "You
can count on us to continue to stand beside you and to fight for
the birth of a new Iraq, an Iraq that would stand as the enlightenment
and stability in our region," he said. "You can also
be certain … and count on us that we will be standing beside
you in the war against terrorism, and against those who would
like to hijack and kidnap our religion and tarnish it, and to
use it for evil intentions.
we will fight those people and we will defeat them, and we will
defeat the terrorists."