The exiled emir of Kuwait and five Arab allies opened a summit Saturday seeking a common strategy to free Kuwait and strengthen their forces to guard against further Iraqi aggression.

"This is the summit of liberation and transformation," said Abdullah Bishara, secretary-general of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.The emir of Qatar, Sheik Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in opening remarks denounced Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. He said he hoped Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "would listen to reason and spare the region the perils of war."

Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheik Nawaf al-Sabah predicted the summit would discuss the possibility of asking the United States and some Arab nations to station troops in Kuwait if Iraq withdraws or is forced out.

Summit sources also said leaders are expected to study plans for transforming the council's 10,000-member rapid deployment force into a full-fledged "joint gulf army."