Kuwait's ruler says rejects any partition of Iraq

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DUBAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) Kuwait will not accept any plan to divide Iraq into federal regions and wants the United States to remain there until the country is stable, the ruler of the Gulf state said in remarks aired today.

''We will not accept the partition of Iraq, we consider this to be dangerous to us. It will be dangerous for the whole region,'' Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told Al-Arabiya television, commenting on a US Senate resolution advocating the division of Iraq into federal regions.

''We are against this division and I think that even the Iraqis will not accept this.'' The non-binding Senate amendment, which was passed last week, says the United States should actively support a political settlement among Iraqis based on a federal system of government.

The amendment has been widely interpreted as a proposal to divide Iraq along sectarian and ethnic lines into Sunni Arab, Shi'ite Arab and Kurdish regions.

Sheikh al-Sabah also called on the United States to keep its troops in Iraq until stability is seen on the ground.

''I say it frankly, I would like the (United States) to withdraw its troops from tomorrow, but do you think that if they pull out there will be stability in Iraq? I think not,'' he said.

''We will hold the United States responsible for the fighting in Iraq, therefore, I wish that they will not leave now before they maintain a strong army in Iraq that can protect Iraq and its people.'' Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Monday that the resolution was well-meaning but failed to recognize the ethnic complexity of Iraqi cities and regions.

The Arab League criticised the resolution and described the idea as ''hostile to Arab interests''.

REUTERS PD BST1115

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