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The New Arab & agencies

Kuwait to spend an additional $10 billion on arms

Kuwait is to buy 28 Typhoon warplanes in a $8-9 billion deal with Eurofighter [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 January, 2016

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Kuwait's parliament approved an extra $10 billion for military spending on Wednesday. The funds will allow the purchase of fighter jets, tanks and air defence systems.
Kuwait's parliament unanimously approved on Wednesday a request by the oil-rich Gulf state's government for $10 billion in additional funds for military spending during the next 10 years.

The parliamentary session, which also saw a mass walk-out of Kuwait's Shia MPs, confirmed that the money will be placed in a special fund outside the budget.

The funds would be used to purchase new fighter jets, tanks and air defence systems, Defence Minister Sheikh Khaled Jarrah Al-Sabah said.

It is time to modernise the army's weapons since existing ones were bought more than two decades ago, he said.

The funds would be withdrawn from state reserves.

The government had earlier requested double the amount but later settled on $10 billion with the promise to include additional funds within the annual budgets when needed and depending on the financial situation, Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh told parliament.

Kuwait is looking to upgrade its firepower amid increased security concerns in the region linked to the rise of the Islamic State group and sectarian conflicts.

The government does not publish specific figures for its defence budget

The emirate is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS targets in Syria and Iraq since last year and is also taking part in a Saudi-led coalition pounding Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

But it is unclear if the additional funds are also linked to those operations.

The government does not publish specific figures for its defence budget.

Several reports have recently linked Kuwait to several arms deals amid regional turmoil.

Kuwait agreed to buy 28 Typhoon warplanes in a deal worth 7-8 billion euros [$8-9 billion], said the Eurofighter consortium in September.

In November, Kuwait signed 2.5 billion euros [$2.8 billion] worth of fixed and provisional military deals led by the purchase of 24 Airbus-built Caracal helicopters.

Paris said Kuwait would purchase the helicopters for 1.0 billion euros, with an option for a further six.

Further deals included provision of French light armoured vehicles and patrol boat maintenance.

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