TOKYO -- U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told Japanese leaders yesterday that he saw little remaining hope of avoiding war in the Persian Gulf.
Iraq still takes such a "stiff position" that "there is little room left for negotiation," he told Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama.
Mr. Perez de Cuellar, who repeatedly has met with Iraqi officials and has headed more than two months of United Nations attempts to get Iraq to pull its army out of Kuwait peacefully, has been a primary advocate of giving diplomacy more time to seek a peaceful resolution.
One of hundreds of world leaders who gathered for the enthronement of Japan's Emperor Akihito, Mr. Perez de Cuellar traveled to Tokyo aboard Air Force Two with Vice President Dan Quayle. A senior official with the vice president said that the two leaders spent about two hours discussing the gulf crisis during the flight.
"The striking feature of their talks was the degree of agreement," the official said.
He declined to characterize the secretary-general's position but did say that Mr. Quayle stressed President Bush's insistence that it was necessary to keep open a realistic option of forcing Iraq out of Kuwait by military offensive.
Their conversation was in the wake of Mr. Bush's announcement last week that he was sending up to 200,000 additional U.S. troops to the gulf in order to be prepared for a military strike if necessary.
Officials say the troops could be in place by January or February.
Japanese officials, too, stressed the "necessity" of getting Iraq to give up Kuwait, Japanese briefers said after the meeting with Mr. Perez de Cuellar.
Mr. Quayle spent most of Monday morning, before the emperor's enthronement ceremony, meeting with senior Middle Eastern leaders at a downtown hotel.