Secretary of State James Baker asked the Soviet Union Monday for support in authorizing a U.N. police force to replace American and other allied troops protecting Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq.
But Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh did not say publicly whether Baker had persuaded him not to block an expected U.S.-backed resolution in the Security Council."A thin line separates the necessity for humanitarian support and the concern for the sovereignty of countries," Bessmertnykh said. "It is a very intricate balance."
Baker took up the problem and other issues, including arms control, in a two-hour meeting here with Bessmertnykh devoted mostly to trying to arrange a Middle East peace conference.
"The possibilities for a conference that we have in mind are growing," Bessmertnykh said, "and the number of problems is fewer than before."
But Baker stressed that "there are some issues that are not agreed to," a point he developed further after a two-hour meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Baker said that in addition to the dispute between Syria and Israel over the format and authority of a peace conference, the issue of Palestinian representation had not been settled. He said the options were a Palestinian delegation, a joint delegation with Jordan or an all-Arab delegation.
"Of course, in order to have a conference you have to resolve all issues satisfactorily," Baker said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Edmat Abdel-Meguid, sounding upbeat, said "there are still some problems, but we don't consider them insurmountable."