Secretary of State James Baker, concluding a 14-nation tour of NATO capitals Friday, was headed for France and the European Community headquarters before returning home to the United States.
On the final leg of his six-day trip, Baker was to visit the EC headquarters in Strasbourg, France, before stopping off in Paris while en route to Washington.Baker spent part of Thursday in Belgium, where he expressed regret that Iran had placed a $1 million bounty on the life of author Salman Rushdie, whose latest novel has infuriated Moslems worldwide.
In his travels Thursday, Baker also visted Luxembourg and Holland before returning to Brussels to spend the night.
Reacting to death threats against Rushdie by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and other Islamic fundamentalists, Baker called the actions "regrettable" and reiterated U.S. opposition to terrorism, especially state-supported terrorism.
Rushdie, the author of "The Satanic Verses," has a home in London and apparently has gone into hiding following the threats against his life.
Moslem leaders have accused Rushdie, a Moslem who was born in India, of defaming the Prophet Mohammed in the novel. Khomeini offered $1 million to anyone who kills Rushdie, $3 million if the killer is an Iranian.
The controversy over Rushdie's book reached Baker during the fifth day of his trip to 14 NATO capitals.
A senior official traveling with Baker elaborated on the secretary's remarks, saying, "If Iran truly wants to join the civilized community of nations, it can't engage in terrorism, can't incite it and can't promote it."
Asked if the reward constituted such promotion, the official said, "It's hard to see it any other way."
In his talks with officials in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Baker found agreement on major issues although no decisions were made, the senior official said.
U.S. officials said the allies appear to have agreed to a summit of NATO leaders during the last two weeks of May, possibly in the Brussels area.
Earlier Thursday, Baker arrived in Brussels for talks with Belgian leaders and for a 90-minute stop at NATO headquarters.