US Secretary of State visits Kuwait for talks on military cooperation, security

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The top diplomat of the United States on Thursday began a visit to Kuwait, where he was set to hold talks with high-ranking officials in the Gulf country that has long been a staunch US ally in a turbulent region.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed a group of American diplomats and headed to the royal palace to meet with Kuwait’s ruling emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

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The State Department said Blinken would advance discussions with tiny oil-rich Kuwait on military cooperation, regional security and investment during his short visit.

Blinken arrived in Kuwait City late Wednesday from India, where he sought to strengthen a regional front against Beijing’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and boost cooperation in Afghanistan. American forces are completing their withdrawal from war-scarred Afghanistan after a 20-year military campaign, a drawdown that’s rippling through the wider region.

The nation of Kuwait, home to 4.1 million people, is slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey and sits on the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.

It has been a critical US partner since the 1991 Gulf War expelled the occupying Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein.

The country hosts some 13,500 American troops, most based at Camp Arifjan south of Kuwait City, and the forward command of US Army Central.

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