New bids to halt Gulf war spurred by UN and PLO
The foreign ministers of seven nonaligned nations are planning to visit Iraq and Iran soon in a mediation mission that could become an alternative to the stalled effort by the Islamic Conference nations.
One of the prime moves behind the latest attempt has been Palestine Liberation Organizatin (PLO) chairman Yasser Arafat, whose personal attempt to mediate between his two battling allies in late September was rebuffed by both sides.
Mr. Arafat is continuing his effort, this time within the framework of the nonaligned nations' coordinating committee. This, aides say, is an indication of the importance the PLO as a whole attaches to limiting and ending the conflict in the Gulf.
Thus Mr. Arafat insisted on using the latest UNESCO conference in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, as an opportunity to visit one of the cradles of the nonaligned movement. There, he fixed final details for the ministerial mission with his host, Yugoslav chief of state Cvijetin Mijatovic.
That activity had followed an important breakthrough Oct. 21 in New York, when the PLO's observer at the United Nations, Zehdi Labib Terzi, brought together the Iranian and Iraqi envoys for the first time since hostilities erupted one month before.
At a later meeting that day, the two envoys provisionally agreed on a list of mediating countries drawn up jointly by the PLO and the nonaligned movement's current chairman, Cuba. Along with movement veterans Yugoslavia and india, the two initiators of the effort are to be joined by the foreign ministers of Zambia , Algeria, and Pakistan.
The PLO recently did put forward its own formula for bringing the fighting between the two Gulf titans to a close. It postulated an immediate cease-fire, to be followed by an iraqi pullback to the 1975 frontiers and the negotiated settlement of all other outstanding issues between the sides.
PLO sources say the nonaligned effort is not considered in any way competitive to the Islamic Conference conciliation mission being pursued chiefly by Pakistani President Zia ul- Haq. But the Islamic effort, they point out, may find a neutral stance hard to adopt since one of the fighting parties, Iran, claims it is fighting on behald of Islam against the "forces of Satan."
In addition to a demonstrable neutrality between the sides, the nonalighed framework represents a greater base of third-world countries, Palestinian officials say.
They also point out that it is only the Palestinian cause that has loss out through the fighting. "All nonaligned states, Islamic and non-Islamic, are affected by the instability of the oil market," one PLO spokesman said.
Palestinian officials thus hope that, even if the nonaligned team cannot halt the fighting immediately, it still can build a "bridge of trust" between the combatants.
The Palestinians desperately need this to stop the drain of military and human resources they would rather see directed jointly against israel.
Special correspondnet Louis Wiznitzer reports from the United Nations:
Slowly and discreetly, the UN Security Council is working on a plan to end the war between Iraq and Iran.
Based on the principles in the United Nations Charter, this call for ending the hostilities is expected to be carefully balanced to provide the necessary face-saving ingredients for leaders of both countries. Both presumambly would have to be content with less than they had publicly promised to their people.
According to well placed analysts, the key elements of the projected Security Council resolution will be:
* The inadmissibility of aggression and of territorial gains through force.
* The inadmissibility of interference in another country's internal affairs.
No documents has as yet been circulated in written form, but the ideas discussed by council members, which may eventually be tied together to form a package, include:
1. A cease-fire.
2. Withdrawal of troops.
3. The stationing of UN troops in a demilitarized zone both countries claim as their own.
4. A mechanism for negotiating Iraq's claims -- presumably the Algiers agreement of 1975.
5. Pledges by both countries not to interfere in each other's internal affairs.