President Mikhail Gorbachev on Monday offered Iraq's foreign minister a new proposal aimed at ending the gulf war, and the Soviets indicated they expect a quick response from Sad-dam Hussein.
No details of the plan were provided, but Gorbachev spokesman Vitaly Igna-tenko said it is "fully in line with the Soviet position that there should be an unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait."Tass quoted Ignatenko as saying the proposal, which comes as the war threatens to explode in an allied ground offensive, offers "a concrete plan of settlement in the Persian Gulf through political means."
Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, received the plan after a 31/2-hour meeting with Gorbachev that Ignatenko described as "very constructive."
Aziz apparently left the meeting without commenting on its outcome. The Foreign Ministry said Aziz would leave for Baghdad later in the day would return to Moscow "very soon, as soon as possible," Ignatenko said.Ignatenko said Gorbachev did not give President Bush or other Western leaders advance notice of his peace plan but would brief them later.
Ignatenko said Aziz accepted Gor-bachev's proposals with "interest and understanding." The spokesman said Gorbachev expects a quick response.
Both Iraq and the United States had said they expected the war to become bloodier if nothing came of Monday's Moscow meeting. Nevertheless, Aziz was quoted beforehand as saying he carried no new proposal to Moscow.
Accompanied by Iraqi Deputy Premier Saadoun Hammadi, Aziz met first with his Soviet counterpart, Alexander Bessmertnykh, and Yev-geny Primakov, a presidential envoy and Middle East expert. The officials then joined Gorbachev.
On Friday, two days after Prima-kov met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad, Iraq's rulers offered to withdraw from Kuwait under conditions that were deemed unacceptable by the Bush administration and its key allies.
Aziz arrived in Moscow late Sunday night on a Soviet Aeroflot jet-liner from Iran. He was forced to travel overland from Baghdad to the Iranian capital of Tehran because the allies would not guarantee him safe passage through the air.
Aziz was scheduled to confer again with Iranian officials on his way back to Iraq.