Iraq might attend Arab summit called 'last chance for peace'

November 12, 1990

Iraq has said it might attend a proposed Arab summit aimed at avoiding war in the Persian Gulf, but only if the meeting also deals with the Arab-Israeli dispute.

King Hassan of Morocco proposed the emergency summit yesterday as a "last chance" for peace.

There were new signs, meanwhile, of cracks in the alliance against Iraq. Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak was quoted today as saying that Egyptian soldiers will not enter Iraq even if U.S. and other troops attack.

He said his troops could, however, enter Kuwait as a peacekeeping force.

At the same time, the European Community said it would urge Baghdad to accept a U.N.-brokered solution concerning the hundreds of Westerners held by Iraq. The EC wants countries negotiating hostage deals with Iraq to work together and thereby prevent tensions among nations in the anti-Iraq alliance.

Meanwhile, an Arab summit attended by Iraq appeared possible.

Yesterday, Iraq's ruling Revolutionary Command Council said Iraq would attend the summit under three conditions. Those were that Baghdad be consulted in advance on the agenda, that the timing and location be chosen so Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could attend, and that the agenda include not just the Persian Gulf crisis but all Middle East issues -- including the Palestinian question.

The council, led by Saddam, also suggested it would not allow certain topics to be discussed. It did not specify which ones.

In Tunis, the Palestine Liberation Organization issued a statement saying it agreed with King Hassan's initiative.

Saddam has long demanded that a solution to the crisis be linked to the Palestinian issue. He made the offer shortly after his Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.

King Hassan suggested that the summit be held in Rabat, the Moroccan capital, in a week. But he said he would attend a summit wherever it might be held.

Morocco, outspoken among Arab nations in condemning the Iraqi invasion, has committed more than 1,200 soldiers to the U.S.-led multinational force based in Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with British television, Saddam again urged dialogue on the crisis and said he did not think all the world was against him.

The major powers and "a number of countries" are lined up against Baghdad, Saddam acknowledged. "But to say that the world is unified against Iraq is indeed not a correct thing to say.

"In the statements of the U.S. and Britain, they themselves are voicing their concern that the unity -- so-called unity against Iraq -- is perhaps . . . suffering from a split," Saddam said.

Secretary of State James Baker received assurances from key allies last week that they will accept nothing short of an unconditional Iraqi pullout.

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