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Sat 28 Apr 2007 10:07 PM

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Kuwait ups security as AQ plot foiled

Major oil producer protects 'sensitive installations' following arrest of 172 people in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait announced on Saturday it was prepared to deal with security threats and was coordinating with Saudi Arabia after the neighbouring kingdom said it had foiled an al Qaeda-linked plot.

Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had thwarted a plot to attack oil facilities, military bases and public figures in the kingdom, arresting 172 people.

Sheikh Jaber al-Hamad al-Sabah, Kuwait's interior and defence minister, said the Gulf Arab state was coordinating security measures with Saudi authorities.

"We are ready to deal with any events like that," he told reporters in parliament.

A security source said Kuwait, a major oil producer controlling a tenth of the world's crude reserves, had stepped up security at "sensitive installations", confirming a report by Al-Watan newspaper earlier on Saturday.

Kuwait, which served as a launch pad for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, said on Monday it had taken "precautionary measures" for any developments in the Gulf at a time of a row between neighbouring Iran and the United States over Tehran's nuclear plans.

Sheikh Jaber said he would brief the cabinet on Sunday about the measures.

The United States, which says Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, has said it wants a diplomatic solution to the standoff but has not ruled out military action if that failed.

Iran says its nuclear programme is only for power generation.

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