Iraq has rejected the U.S.-proposed dates for Secretary of State James A. Baker III's trip to Baghdad for talks with Saddam Hussein, the official Iraqi News Agency said Saturday.
The State Department suggested Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22 or Jan. 3 for the Baker trip. Iraq proposed Jan. 12, the news agency said.A Jan. 12 date would come only three days before the deadline set down in a U.N. resolution demanding an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.
The State Department has not disclosed any proposed dates for the trip to Washington by Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. The Iraqi News Agency said Baghdad had proposed Dec. 17.
In Washington, an official said the dates for the visits were still under discussion with Iraq. The official said Wilson had discussed some possibilities with Iraqi foreign ministry officials on Saturday.
National security adviser Brent Scowcroft said he believes Saddam wants the talks to occur as close as possible to the Jan. 15 U.N. deadline.
"This is just another ploy that he's trying to use to drag things out and to avoid seriously facing up to what the world community is demanding that he do," Scowcroft said in an interview on CNN.
The Iraqi news agency said it "learned that the American side proposed other dates for the two meetings that were found not suitable for the Iraqi side." It did not say what dates had been proposed by the United States for the Aziz visit.