Soviet envoy urges Iraqi talks before U.N. acts

November 16, 1990|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON — NEW YORK -- The Soviet Union's chief negotiator on the Middle East called yesterday for delaying introduction of a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq to allow time for a final negotiating effort that would give President Saddam Hussein a "face-saving" reason to give up Kuwait peacefully.

But the official, Yevgeny M. Primakov, who has served as President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's special envoy in the Persian Gulf crisis, said in an interview that if such an initiative failed, not only should a Security Council resolution authorizing force be approved, but military action should also be taken almost immediately against Iraq.

He said that while a negotiating initiative was under way, the Security Council should not be rushed.

The United States, which holds the council's rotating presidency this month, would like to secure a resolution on force by the end of the month, although it does not appear likely that any military action would be taken, if at all, before next year.

The United States has also opposed any negotiations with Mr. Hussein.

If the Security Council decides the current economic sanctions against Iraq have failed and no negotiated solution is achieved, Mr. Primakov said, a resolution authorizing force should be adopted, followed by an immediate attack on Iraqi-occupied Kuwait.

"We should use up all possibilities for a political solution before force," Mr. Primakov said.

But he added: "If there is to be a Security Council resolution on military force, then you should act immediately. . . . I'm not for bluffing with dangerous things."

Mr. Primakov said the five countries with permanent Security Council seats -- the United States, Britain, France, China and the Soviet Union -- should join with the Arab League countries to send an envoy to Baghdad.

"We should gather up all the things that have been said in the United Nations and the Arab League about negotiating Iraq's dispute with Kuwait and settling the Palestinian problem and give them to him in one big face-saving package," the negotiator said.

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