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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 17:50 GMT
Iran call for nuclear-free region
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Kuwait
Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian leader to go to Kuwait since 1979
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the Middle East to be free of nuclear weapons.

Speaking after talks with Kuwaiti leaders, Mr Ahmadinejad said nuclear weapons were a threat to stability.

He said Iran was a good neighbour, and reiterated that its nuclear programme was for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Gulf Arab states, including Kuwait, have said they want an agreement with Iran to keep the Gulf region free of nuclear weapons.

Mr Ahmadinejad's brief visit to Kuwait was the first by an Iranian head of state since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

He held talks with Kuwaiti leaders including the new Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad.

Also on Monday, Kuwaiti leaders held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who is touring Gulf states.

The official Egyptian news agency said the talks focused on recent developments in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

'Deteriorating security'

At a news conference before his departure from Kuwait Mr Ahmadinejad was asked about calls from the Gulf states for the Middle East to become a nuclear-free zone.

He said: "We too demand that the Middle East be free of nuclear weapons, not only the Middle East, but the whole world should be free of nuclear weapons.

"We believe that these weapons, possessed by the superpowers and the occupiers in our area, are a threat to stability," Mr Ahmadinejad added.

He also criticised the US presence in neighbouring Iraq.

"The occupation in Iraq is causing the deterioration of security. We believe that when foreign occupation is ended, a large part of the problems would be solved," Mr Ahmadinejad said.

He went on to say that relations between Iran and Kuwait were improving all the time.

Iran and Kuwait have been in political and technical talks aimed at demarcating their maritime border for several years, but the dispute continues.

"There is no problem between us and the brothers in Kuwait which cannot be solved. But it needs some technical studies," Mr Ahmadinejad said.


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