European Community foreign ministers agreed Monday to ask non-aligned and Moslem countries to put pressure on Iraq to accept a U.N. mission to discuss the fate of 2,000 hostages held by Baghdad.
EC diplomats said the ministers agreed to ask more than 40 countries in the non-aligned group of states, the Islamic Conference countries and other nations to put pressure on Baghdad to accept a United Nations humanitarian mission.Iraq, which invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2 and is defying repeated U.N. demands that it end its occupation of the emirate, has so far refused to let U.N. envoy Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan visit Baghdad and discuss the fate of the hostages.
It is holding Western and Japanese nationals at strategic sites to deter any attack by U.S.-dominated forces massing in the gulf.
"The ministers agreed the community should make representations to 40 or 50 countries with a view to getting those countries to put pressure on Iraq to admit the U.N. secretary general's special envoy," one British diplomat said.
The ministers also expressed support for plans to seek a new resolution from the U.N. Security Council to strengthen the land blockade on trade with Iraq.
They agreed that the idea would be discussed further by top government officials.
"The idea would be to help countries to keep their borders sealed," one EC diplomat said.
EC ministers were meeting their counterparts from five North African Arab states Monday to discuss the gulf crisis and ways to boost cooperation.
It was the first meeting between the EC and the Arab Maghreb Union which groups Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Morocco has sent troops to the multinational force in the Gulf.