Iraq said to hint at peace move

January 11, 1991|By Paul Lewis | Paul Lewis,New York Times News Service

UNITED NATIONS -- Arab diplomats here said yesterday that they had been told that President Saddam Hussein plans an initiative soon after the Jan. 15 United Nations deadline for giving up Kuwait that will express his support "in principle" for pulling out of Kuwait and simultaneously call for an international conference to address Palestinian grievances against Israel.

The Iraqi leader, those diplomats said, is expected to wait until a day or two after the U.N. deadline has passed to make his statement to demonstrate that he has not been intimidated.

He is also expected to seek international guarantees that Iraq will not be attacked and to propose negotiations on disputes between Iraq and Kuwait.

While he has previously hinted that he might respond in some fashion to a linking of the two issues, Mr. Hussein has never said he will leave Kuwait.

Reports of the planned Iraqi initiative also suggest that Mr. Hussein is unlikely to make any substantive concessions to U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar during his 11th-hour mediation trip to Baghdad, which starts this weekend.

It was impossible to confirm that Mr. Hussein will in fact make the kind of statement that the Arab diplomats at the United Nations say they have been told about.

Those diplomats said they had received reports of such an initiative from Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, the Arab countries closest to Iraq.

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