Secretary of State James A. Baker III Thursday rejected hints from Iraq that it might withdraw from Kuwait in exchange for being allowed to keep certain strategic islands or other concessions.

Kuwait's exiled premier also said Tuesday his government will not give Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "even a single inch" of territory in any settlement should the emirate be liberated.Syria also ruled out a compromise with Iraq.

Yielding to Saddam's apparent interest in a partial settlement of the crisis would permit Saddam to benefit from Iraq's "rape of Kuwait," Baker said.

"We are unwilling to engage in a search for partial solutions," Baker said at a news conference at which he again demanded Iraq withdraw from neighboring oil-rich Kuwait.

"It's a case of not wanting to succumb to the siren song of a partial solution," Baker said.

At the same time, Baker said U.S. officials were "quite concerned" about Iraqi threats to unleash terrorism against the West in retaliation for the three-month economic blockade of the country.

Baker took questions at a State Department ceremony designed to heighten public interest in the U.S. campaign against terrorism.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Richard Cheney began talks with Soviet officials on the Persian Gulf.

Cheney, U.S. Ambassador Jack Matlock and other U.S. officials met with Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov. They were also to talk with Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze.

Gorbachev's top adviser on the Middle East, Yevgeny Primakov, left for Rome, then Paris and Washington for talks on ending the gulf crisis without further conflict, said presidential spokesman Vitaly Ignatenko.

"The people of Kuwait have already taken an unequivocal resolution not to make any concessions on Kuwaiti sovereignty, and these people will not surrender even a single inch of land," Crown Prince Sheik Saad al Abdullah al Sabah told reporters in Saudi Arabia.

Saad, also Kuwait's prime minister in exile, apparently referred to unconfirmed reports in Moscow and the Jordanian capital of Amman that Saddam is willing to withdraw from the rest of Kuwait if he can keep an oil field and two strategic islands in the northern Persian Gulf.

Saad made the comments on the day after a conference of 1,200 Kuwaitis in Saudi Arabia, which included members of the exiled royal family and pro-democracy opposition groups.

Conference members said that all Kuwaitis, despite their differences, are opposed to Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of their homeland and are determined to liberate the emirate.

Pro-democracy Kuwaiti activists, led by the speaker of the emirate's dissolved Parliament, were reported to have won concessions from the ruling family for a bigger role in the post-liberation government, conference sources said.

Kuwait's exiled emir, Sheik Jaber al Ahmad al Sabah, dissolved the elected Parliament in July 1986.

"Any comprehensive solution to the gulf crisis could only be reached through the withdrawal of Iraqi troops (from Kuwait) and the restoration of Kuwait's legitimate government," Syrian Information Minister Mohammed Salman told the Al Ittihad newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.

Salman defended his country's decision to send troops to the region, saying Iraq's conquest marked the first time an Arab country had invaded, occupied and annexed a fellow Arab state.

In other developments Tuesday:

-Turkish President Turgut Ozal arrived in Cairo from Qatar as part of a Mideast tour to confer with members of the pro-Kuwait alliance.

-Japan moved toward committing troops to the U.S.-led multinational force in the region as the government unveiled its long-awaited United Nations peace cooperation bill.

-The Jordanian government stopped a government charity from sending 16 trucks loaded with milk, food and medicine to Iraq pending approval from the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee.