Iraq OKs talks with Baker Europe to confront Iraq with repeat of U.S. ultimatum

January 05, 1991|By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite | Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,Sun Staff Correspondent

LUXEMBOURG -- The European Community decided

yesterday to confront Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz 24 hours after his meeting with Secretary of State James A. Baker III with a carbon-copy ultimatum: Get out of Kuwait or be attacked.

The Europeans welcomed President Bush's decision to arrange a last-minute diplomatic showdown in Geneva on Wednesday and invited Mr. Aziz to come here for a second face-to-face session immediately afterward.

The maneuver was carefully coordinated with the Bush administration and was endorsed by foreign ministers of the community's 12 member states at an emergency meeting here yesterday.

"I think it is a good thing that on two consecutive days, the Iraqi government should receive the same message," said Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jacques Poos, who is the current president of the EC.

Douglas Hurd of Britain, the United States' most staunch ally in Europe, left no doubt what that message would be: "If Iraq remains in Kuwait as the aggressor, then she will be forced out.

"If she abides fully with the Security Council resolutions [demanding complete and unconditional withdrawal], she will not be attacked."

All the European foreign ministers emphasized their determination to maintain a united front with the United States in next week's meeting with Iraq.

Germany's Hans-Dietrich Genscher said, according to an aide, "There must be a clear reference in the final communique] to the full implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions in order to show there is strong solidarity within the international community and there are no breaking points between the European Community and the United States."

French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas created some confusion by suggesting that simply "by announcing" its intention to withdraw, Iraq should be given a guarantee that there would be no allied attack.

But the final communique, accepted without reservation by France, called for the "full and unconditional implementation" of the U.N. resolutions.

Mr. Hurd commented afterward: "Obviously, it is the fulfilling of the intention that secures no attack. You couldn't have a situation in which an announcement was made that was not fulfilled. That would not indefinitely protect the aggressor from attack. We are talking about actual fulfillment of the resolution."

The foreign ministers rejected partial solutions or linkage between the gulf crisis and "other problems,"and warned, "The entire responsibility for war or peace rests with the Iraqi government."

This blunt point will be put to Mr. Aziz if he accepts the invitation that was immediately relayed to Baghdad after yesterday's meeting.

Mr. Aziz will be confronted by the foreign ministers of the European Community's "troika" -- the past president (Italy), the current president (Luxembourg) and the next president (the Netherlands).

Mr. Poos, who will lead the "troika," said the meeting would not just be a rereading of yesterday's communique. "It will involve thorough discussion. Points of view will be exchanged, and we will try to convince him of the views of the community," he added.

Mr. Aziz will also be told that once Iraq withdrew unconditionally from Kuwait, the Europeans would be willing to address what is termed here as "the post-crisis scenario."

The communique yesterday reaffirmed the community's commitment "to contribute actively to a settlement of other problems of the region and establish a situation of security, stability and development there."

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