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UN finds Iran-Iraq clash a ticklish issue

After five hours of informal deliberations the president of the Security Council was authorized by its members to send an appeal to Iraq and Iran calling for a ceasefire.

This call did not, however, carry the official stamp of the Security Council and is therefore not mandatory since it was authorized as a result of an informal meeting and cannot be called official.

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But the Soviet Union was extremely reluctant to endorse even this modest stand. Moreover, most members of the council were not a favor of convening a formal meeting of this body. As one high-ranking diplomat put it, "Neither the Europeans, nor the Islamic nations, nor the nonaligned, nor the socialists want to stick their necks out at this time."

A formal meeting of the council may require member states to take positions or make statements that could be interpreted as giving support to one side or the other. Western nations are heavily dependent on both Iran and Iraq for their oil supplies and are understandably cautious.

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