Kuwait, SA Sign Defence Treaty
Pretoria : Kuwait's deputy prime minister has signed a defence treaty with South Africa and is to go window shopping for defence equipment during his visit.
Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, would look at South African products.
"When (his delegation) get home, they will probably decide which defence needs they feel they can satisfy from South Africa."
The South African defence industry was marketing its products in the Persian Gulf, Lekota said. For example, the fence reinforcing Kuwait's border with Iraq was from South Africa.
Lekota said the memorandum of understanding signed yesterday formalised closer military cooperation in training, exercises and the exchange of expertise and provided for co-operation in peacekeeping.
"We also include the possibility of ... the exchange if technology," he said.
South Africa had entered into the treaty in the spirit of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, he said.
"This is the beginning of an important mission," said Al-Sabah.
He hoped friendship would flourish between the two countries and that more agreements would follow.
Lekota said South Africa regarded its relations with Kuwait as important because these could contribute to stability in the Gulf region.
"We see these relations in the light of our commitment to world peace. To the extent that it is possible, we will support all efforts that advance the cause of peace and stability in that region."
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz visited the country earlier this month. The tension between Iraq and Kuwait was likely to be discussed during Al-Sabah's stay, Lekota said. South Africa felt compelled to play a role that would encourage both sides to enter negotiations.
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 led to the Gulf War.
With acknowledgements to Sapa and Cape Times.