ASSAD TO IRAN: FOREIGN FORCES WILL GO IF IRAQ QUITS KUWAIT
| NICOSIA, Cyprus
Syrian President Hafez al-Assad has told Iranian leaders that the presence of foreign troops in the Persian Gulf after the resolution of the Kuwaiti problem would be unacceptable, Syrian radio reported. Although Iran has condemned Iraq's takeover of Kuwait, it has also sharply criticized the United States-dominated buildup of Western forces in the Gulf region.
Speaking at a banquet in Tehran, President Assad told Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani Saturday night that Iraq had brought foreign troops into the region by invading Kuwait more than seven weeks ago.
Syria was the only Arab state to support Iran in its war against Iraq. It has now sent troops to join the military buildup in Saudi Arabia prompted by Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.
``We call for removing the pretext for the arrival of those troops, that is, the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, so that the sons of this region can stand together to work for the departure of foreign troops,'' Assad said in remarks broadcast by Damascus radio, monitored by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
``We declare and stress, without any ambiguity, that we will not accept the presence of foreign troops in this region after the Kuwaiti problem is resolved and after this pretext is removed,'' the Syrian leader said.