The scheduled pullout of the missile cruiser Vincennes from the Persian Gulf region has been postponed because at least one unidentified Arab government objected to its departure, U.S. military sources said.
The 9,600-ton cruiser was to have ended its patrol duties with the U.S. Joint Task Force Middle East on Sunday and was earlier reported to have left.In reducing the force from 27 to 26 ships, the Vincennes would have represented the first cutback by the United States since the Aug. 20 cease-fire in the Iraq-Iran war.
The military sources, insisting on anonymity, on Monday said the Vincennes was remaining on station in the Arabian Sea, possibly for another five days.
The change of orders was based on diplomatic rather than military considerations and "came from a much higher level than the Navy in the gulf," said one source. That source, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the Pentagon decision not to replace the cruiser still stood.
U.S. military and diplomatic sources said they could not identify the Arab state that raised objections to the Vincennes leaving the region.