Belgium will not send military forces to a battle zone if war breaks out in the Persian Gulf region, Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens said Wednesday.

Martens told the Belgian daily De Standaard that the current naval presence in the region and the 18 Belgian Mirage fighter bombers to be sent to Turkey will carry defensive orders only."The government decided that our three ships work to implement the U.N. resolutions on the embargo. They cannot however be drawn into the armed conflict," Martens said.

"Furthermore, Germany, Italy and Belgium form part of the Allied Mobile Force in order to support Turkey with aircraft," the prime minister told the newspaper. Military experts are investigating if there is any danger for this NATO partner. If so, we can decide to send 18 combat aircraft to help Turkey defend itself against an Iraqi attack."