Gorbachev discusses French ideas on Kuwait with Mitterrand

October 29, 1990|By New York Times News Service

PARIS -- With the Soviet Union apparently frustrated in its latest effort to persuade Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met yesterday with President Francois Mitterrand on France's ideas for ending the Persian Gulf crisis.

The main purpose of Mr. Gorbachev's 24-hour visit here is to sign a friendship and cooperation agreement with France, but the two leaders immediately turned to the gulf crisis when they held their first talks at the Elysee Palace, French officials said.

Mr. Gorbachev hinted Saturday that Iraq might be reconsidering its position, but reports from Baghdad suggested that a Soviet emissary, Yevgeny M. Primakov, had made no progress in talks with President Saddam Hussein.

Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze said yesterday that "for the moment, there are not many reasons to be optimistic" after Mr. Primakov's talks, although he added, without providing details, that there were still "some chances of a negotiated settlement."

Earlier, while accompanying Mr. Gorbachev on the last leg of a three-day visit to Spain, Mr. Shevardnadze said that the Primakov mission did not represent the last hope for peace. "It is necessary to find a path to a political solution, but it is difficult to know what it is," he told reporters.

There was some speculation here that Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Mitterrand might be discussing a possible joint initiative on the gulf crisis. Along with the Soviet Union, France, which until the crisis was Iraq's closest Western partner, has been trying to keep open its lines of communication with Baghdad.

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