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US vows to keep Gulf safe for oil shipments

The commander of the US Middle East force, Rear Adm. John Adams, was quoted in a Kuwaiti newspaper as saying the United States was ready to respond quickly and effectively with military action to ensure free navigation in the Gulf. Rear Admiral Adams, based in Bahrain, said any attempt to close the strait ''will be met by joint international action and not by an American unilateral measure.''

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Iran has threatened to seal the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf if Iraq, its enemy in the 37-month-old Gulf war, disrupts Iranian oil shipments. About a sixth of the noncommunist world's oil supplies pass through the waterway.