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PARIS - Kuwait's interior minister told a US ambassador his country did not want to see the return of Kuwaiti
WikiLeaks: Kuwait's interior minister told US that he did not want to see return of Kuwaitis from Guantanamo.
terror suspects held in Guantanamo Bay and suggested "the best thing to do is get rid of them."
The exchange between Sheikh Jaber Khaled al-Sabah and the US envoy to Kuwait, which took place in February last year, was recorded in a US State Department cable published Tuesday by the activist website WikiLeaks.
Washington was urging Kuwait to accept the return of Kuwaiti nationals who had been detained at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on suspicion of belonging to militant groups fighting in Afghanistan.
"You know better than I that we cannot deal with these people," the minister protested, arguing that Kuwait is a small and tight-knit society where family ties hold more sway than any legal measure he could take.
"I can't detain them. If I take their passports, they will sue to get them back. I can talk to you into next week about building a rehabilitation centre, but it won't happen," the sheikh said, according to the leaked cable.
"We are not Saudi Arabia. We cannot isolate these people in desert camps or somewhere on an island. We cannot compel them to stay. If they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is get rid of them," he said.
"You picked them up in Afghanistan: You should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war zone."
The ambassador also asked the Kuwaiti minister's advice as to what should have been done with seven Iranian hashish smugglers that were rescued by the US navy when their boat was found sinking in the waters of the Gulf.
In that case, US forces returned the seven to Iran via authorities in Oman, but the minister suggested they might not have been so lucky had they been picked up by the Kuwaiti Coast Guard.
"God wished to punish them for smuggling drugs by drowning them, and then you saved them. So they're your problem! You should have let them drown," the minister suggested, "smiling broadly", according to the cable.