U.S. to maintain Persian Gulf presence

Oct. 31, 2011 at 6:04 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The United States will maintain a presence in the Persian Gulf region, the Pentagon said Monday.

The number of troops deployed to the region and where they will be based remains to be decided, said Navy Capt. John Kirby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations.

"We're still working through the decision process," Kirby said. "There's been no final decision made on any additional force presence anywhere."

Obama this month announced all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq at the end of the year. Some in diplomatic and military circles have expressed concern the withdrawal could leave the region more unstable.

Press Secretary George Little said formal plans have not been submitted to President Obama or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Pentagon said in a release.

"Whatever decisions are made about force posture moving forward will be based upon our security commitments we have made and will continue to honor in that region," Kirby said.

The United States has had troops in that part of the world since World War II, he said.

"Our goal is to promote stability and we expect to continue to have strong military-to-military relations with countries in the region including Iraq, to include Kuwait, to include others," Little said.

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