The U.N. Security Council Saturday overwhelmingly approved a resolution setting up terms for an end of hostilities in the Persian Gulf and opening the way for the restoration of security in the region and the reconstruction of Kuwait.
The council voted 11-1, with three abstentions, to adopt the resolution. Cuba voted against the measure, while China, India and Yemen abstained.The resolution considered Iraq the aggressor in the gulf war and demanded Baghdad "cease hostile or provocative actions by its forces against all member states, including missile attacks and flights of combat aircraft."
U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering called the resolution a "watershed" document, which opens the way for Iraq to regain its place in the international community if it carries out faithfully provisions in the resolution.
Pickering said Resolution 678, which authorized the allied forces to repel Iraq from Kuwait, remains in effect until Iraq has complied fully with U.N. resolutions.
"Aggression has been beaten, firmly and decisively," Pickering said. "Iraq must make clear that it no longer harbors aggressive intent, and it must take steps needed immediately to implement the 12 U.N. Security Council resolutions," the U.S. ambassador said.
"This resolution shows Iraq the way to begin to do so," he said.
Meanwhile, President Bush and top aides said Saturday that U.S. combat troops in the gulf would start heading home soon.
But Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said reservists with key specialties may have to stay longer and that some reserves may still be called up and sent overseas.
As the administration worked on its troop plan, work to bring the war to a final end continued.
Military officials in Saudi Arabia prepared to present Iraqi commanders with stiff demands at a meeting today to set terms for a formal cease-fire. Bush told the troops in a radio address, "Today we thank you - for the victory in Kuwait was born in your courage and resolve."
"We promised this would not be another Vietnam. And we kept that promise. The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula," the president said.
Now, Bush said, "We are committed to seeing every American soldier and every allied POW home soon - home to the thanks and the respect and the love of a grateful nation and a very grateful president."
The president's chief of staff, John H. Sununu, said the time until the first combat troops arrive home could be "measured in days."
"Hopefully sometime over the next few days you'll hear an announcement of a specific schedule, and I suspect they'll be coming right home after the announcement," Sununu said on the CNN show "Evans and Novak."
"It took us six months to get the buildup in place. It may take less than that coming out," Cheney said on another CNN broadcast, "Newsmaker Saturday."
But Cheney warned that the withdrawal was "an enormously complex undertaking," and said the Pentagon was studying the role of reserve troops in the gulf.
"The reserves are the ones that have certain specialties," he said. "We may want to call up some additional reserve units and have them substitute for some of those who have been there a long time.
"If we've got some people that haven't served at all that are available to perform certain missions," Cheney said, they "could go over for a few months and help alleviate the strain."
In the gulf, Iraq said it had appointed the top-ranking military officers who would attend cease-fire talks to be held before noon today (2 a.m. MST) at an undisclosed location.
"These aren't negotiations. We're going in there and tell them some preconditions," said Brig. Gen. Richard I. Neal, a U.S. briefing officer.
In other developments:
- Three out of four Americans questioned in a Newsweek poll said they want Saddam captured and tried for war crimes.
The telephone poll taken Friday and reported in the Newsweek edition on newsstands Monday found 79 percent want to continue economic sanctions against Iraq to force Saddam from power.
Sixty percent said the United States should not be more willing in the future to use force to solve international problems. Four out of seven considered it likely U.S. forces would have to fight Iraq or some other aggressor nation in the Middle East again.
- There was new hope that allied prisoners of war, including nine Americans, might soon be freed. Iraq told the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva it was ready to begin an immediate exchange of POWs.
- Kuwait's crown prince, Sheik Saad al-Abdulla al-Sabah, "has promised that within a year a new parliament will be elected" and that the country would institute a "good democracy," France's ambassador to Kuwait, Jean Bressot, said on French television.
Laying down the law
- Return all allied prisoners of war and abducted Kuwaitis.
- Cease "hostile or provocative actions."
- Rescind its annexation of Kuwait.
- Accept liability under international law for war damages in Kuwait and elsewhere, return all seized Kuwaiti property and help in the rebuilding of Kuwait.
- Disclose the location of mine fields and booby traps.
- States the United States and its allies intend to leave southern Iraq "as soon as possible" when Kuwait is stable and international peace and security is restored.
- Reaffirms all 12 council resolutions passed against Iraq following its Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. The resolution passed Saturday does not lift economic sanctions against Iraq and Kuwait.
- Gives the allies the right to resume military action against Iraq if it fails to comply with the demands.