Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz accused the U.N. Security Council of adopting a policy of double standards and said the government of Saddam Hussein would never succumb to pressure, Baghdad Radio said Tuesday.
Yemen's Sanaa Radio reported that the five permament council members reached a broad agreement on a draft resolution authorizing the use of force if Iraq fails to get out of Kuwait by Jan. 1. There was no elaboration.The Washington Post also reported an agreement apparently had been reached but that the council was trying to nail down a deadline for a pullout from the oil-rich emirate.
France, a permanent council member, has said it wants a Jan. 15 deadline. The Security Council is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss and possibly vote on the proposed resolution.
Aziz spoke to reporters upon his return to Baghdad late Monday from Moscow - where he met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in talks in which the Soviets put the onus of a war in the gulf on Iraq.
The Iraqi minister was commenting on the draft war resolution the United States is pushing the Security Council to adopt.
"The continuous resolutions issued by the Security Council, including the one the Americans are seeking to adopt this week, do not serve the cause of peace . . . but emphasize the double standards which the council subscribes to," the state-owned Iraqi radio, monitored in Cairo, quoted Aziz as saying.
"Iraq will never succumb to pressure and will remain struggling fairly to achieve peace and justice in the region, with the rights of the Palestinian people foremost in its mind.
"Iraq's position on Kuwait will remain unchanged," Aziz said.
The foreign ministers of the Security Council are to meet Thursday at the request of the United States, which is the current chairman of the U.N. body.
The council has five permanent members and 10 rotating, or temporary, members. Six of the rotating members have reportedly indicated they will vote for a war resolution.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the five permanent members of the council - the United States, Britain, France, China and the Soviet Union - appeared to have agreed on the use of force with the only sticking point being whether the resolution set a pullout deadline of Jan. 1 or Jan. 15.
French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas said in a statement Tuesday that he proposed Jan. 15 as the last date for a pullout, citing Soviet "reticence" on setting New Year's Day as the deadline.
Yemen, a temporary member, is scheduled to assume the council's chairmanship Jan. 1.
Soviet leaders began talks in Moscow Tuesday with visiting Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal.
Faisal was in Moscow last month to restore diplomatic relations between the two states after a break of some 50 years.
In the stream of diplomacy efforts of the gulf crisis, Soviet leaders told the visiting Aziz Monday that Baghdad must get out of Kuwait and allow some 3,000 Soviet nationals to leave the country or face "the worst."
"The fate of Iraq is in the hands of its leadership, and time is elapsing," Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said. "If Iraq actually wants a settlement in the entire region and is seeking to avoid the worst, it must declare right now openly and to show by deeds that it is leaving Kuwait."
In Amman, Jordan, one West European diplomat told United Press International that Saddam Hussein's claim Monday that Iraqis were dying through lack of food and medicine was a "lie."
"(Saddam) is telling a lie. There is no evidence at all from Iraq to say Iraqis are dying through lack of food and medicines because of the United Nations blockade," the diplomat said.
Oil prices jumped $2 a barrel Monday amid speculation about the prospects for war in the Persian Gulf region.
Also Monday, the U.S. Army ordered 10,567 National Guard combat troops to report for active duty Friday in support of Operation Desert Shield, and said dozens of other reserve units have been alerted for possible non-combat duty.
In other developments:
- The 100 Marine Reservists from Utah who were activated as part of the national buildup for Operation Desert Shield have arrived at Camp Lejeune, N.C. - and now have a new designation.
Instead of being Company C., 4th Light Armored Vehicle Battalion, 4th Marine Division (Reinforced), they are now Company E, 2nd Light Armored Infantry Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
"Everything's gone about as smooth as could be expected," Capt. Alfred McLaren said Tuesday. "Everything went really well, without hitches."
The group left Salt Lake International Airport as scheduled at 6 a.m. MST, and arrived at Camp Lejeune at 11:45 a.m. EST.
"It's unknown where they go beyond there at this time," McLaren added.
Relatives and friends wishing to send greetings can reach them at Bldg. 513, 2nd Deck, 2nd Marine Division, FMF, USMCR, Camp Lejeune, N.C. 28542.
That will be their address for approximately three weeks.
- Outside inspectors have found no evidence that Iraq is diverting nuclear material from its civilian research program for military use, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday.
In a brief statement on a visit to Iraq by inspectors last week, the IAEA said no change had taken place in the status of nuclear material under agency safeguards since a previous inspection in April.
- The U.S. Senate was examining the Bush administration's gulf policy Tuesday. Former CIA Director James Schlesinger told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States has concluded it will take about one year for international sanctions against Iraq to take full effect.