Gulf Victors Pushing New Terms for End to War
WASHINGTON AND UNITED NATIONS, N.Y.
AS the unrest in Iraq continues and a formal end to the hostilities in the Gulf war is delayed, some of the victors have been adding new conditions for a formal end to the war. At first, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait led the campaign to impose harsher conditions on Iraq. But now, Britain and the United States have endorsed the idea as a way both of encouraging an overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and of dealing with the fact that his regime could survive.
Over the weekend, British Prime Minister John Major and US President George Bush, meeting in Bermuda, agreed that Iraq should be made to destroy its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and to accept its border with Kuwait - new conditions for ending the war originally urged by Kuwait.
Some coalition partners and UN Security Council members, however, do not support the new conditions, and the issue will be taken up by the Council this week.
"The Kuwaitis are floating a lot of ideas," says a well-informed European diplomat. "They're doing this not only to guarantee their security, but to take revenge against Iraq. The question is, what is the overlap between Kuwaiti and Western interests. When Baker comes back from the Middle East, we'll have to draw the line."
Security Council Resolution 686, which Iraq accepted on March 3, stipulates that Iraq will return all prisoners of war and abducted Kuwaitis, cease hostile or provocative actions, disclose the location of mine fields and booby traps, rescind its annexation of Kuwait, accept liability for war damages, and return seized Kuwaiti property.
Initially, the US opposed new conditions, but now officials see them as a way of bringing additional pressure on Iraq.
Apparently some of the new conditions, which will be outlined in a new Security Council resolution, could be eased if Saddam Hussein were overthrown.
The new conditions are:
The destruction of Iraq's Scud missile launchers. The Israelis, according to published reports, asked the US for this during Mr. Baker's trip to Jerusalem, and the secretary agreed.
The destruction of Iraq's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. According to informed sources, the French are opposed to this because of the difficulty of verification.
The rescinding by Iraq's National Assembly of Baghdad's annexation of Kuwait, a Kuwaiti demand. Although Iraq's National Assembly originally annexed Kuwait, the Revolutionary Command Council was the organ that invalidated it after the war.
Kuwait says the annexation should be rescinded in the way it was passed, and that the decision should be officially published.
The acceptance by Iraq of the border with Kuwait.
The creation of a multinational buffer force under the UN flag, which would be located inside both Kuwait and Iraq. Originally, Kuwait was going to settle for a pan-Arab force within its own borders, sources say.
But now with the possibility of Saddam remaining in power, the Kuwaitis "are not too hot about the Syrians and the Egyptians," says an allied diplomat.
Mohammed Abulhasan, Kuwait's ambassador to the UN, says Kuwait is reserving the option of charging the Iraqi leadership with war crimes.
Although the Security Council passed UN Resolution 686 on March 2 and a tentative cease-fire began the next day, there has been no move formally to end the war. That will require another Security Council resolution announcing an end to the war in compliance with Resolution 686, along with negotiations between Iraq and the US on withdrawal.
"Part of the problem is we don't know who to speak with" in Iraq, says the European diplomat. With Iraq in turmoil, it is unclear who will prevail there.
In addition, the US has made it clear in the last few days that it is not withdrawing from Iraq until the political dust settles there. A US military presence in southern Iraq gives Washington some leverage on the outcome. Therefore a formal end to hostilities is not now in the cards.
Nevertheless, this week, the Security Council will begin deliberations expected to last two to three weeks, according to a US diplomat at the UN.
In a news conference, Mr. Abulhasan said Iraq is not complying with Resolution 686. The five permanent members of the Council met last Friday to consider Iraqi violations and a possible new resolution dealing with noncompliance.
Abdul Amir al-Anbari, Iraq's ambassador to the UN, met several times with US Ambassador Thomas Pickering to explain Iraq's problems in complying.
Abulhasan, who recently visited Kuwait, said that of 33,000 Kuwaiti civilians believed abducted by Iraq, only 1,200 have been repatriated. He said Iraq had not begun to return stolen Kuwaiti property, including gold bullion, $2 billion worth of military equipment, 15 planes, a telecommunications center, oil refineries, bank computers, archives, museum pieces, and school furniture.
He said that Iraq has not moved on a commitment to compensate Kuwait for loss and he suggested Baghdad should agree to binding international arbitration to determine the value. He said the total of damaged and stolen property lay between $70 and $100 billion.
The prevailing idea at the UN is that economic sanctions against Iraq should be eased so that Baghdad can pay damages from oil revenues. Kuwait favors the creation of a special fund.
According to the US diplomat, "there's still a lot to be done in terms of full compliance" with Resolution 686, but demands for the return of all stolen property "could take you back 2,000 years."
He says the Council will proceed with a formal cease-fire when Iraq is in "substantial compliance" with Resolution 686.