The United States and the Soviet Union plan to issue a joint statement condemning Iraq's invasion of Kuwait later today, State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler announced.
The statement will be made public when Secretary of State James A. Baker III stops briefly in Moscow to meet with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze.
Baker had decided Thursday to cut short his trip to Asia and announced that he was returning to Washington because of the Middle East crisis provoked by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
State Department officials said that after a series of post-midnight meetings and telephone calls here today, Baker made a decision to stop briefly in Moscow en route home for the meeting with Shevardnadze and for aircraft refueling.
Aides said that early this morning in Ulan Bator, after a dinner with Mongolian officials, Baker spoke with Vasily I. Sitnikov, the Soviet ambassador to Mongolia. Sitnikov gave Baker a message from Shevardnadze describing a strong Soviet statement that was to be issued concerning Iraq's action.
The secretary of state then spoke with President Bush, who was traveling aboard Air Force One en route to Colorado. The President instructed Baker to stop in Moscow on his way home from Mongolia.
Earlier, the Soviet Union announced that it is suspending shipments of weapons and other military equipment to Iraq, and the Soviet Foreign Ministry urged Baghdad to withdraw its troops from Kuwait, according to Tass, the official Soviet news agency. The Kremlin is Iraq's main military supplier.
Baker will not meet in Moscow with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who is vacationing in the Crimea, U.S. officials said.
Baker and Shevardnadze had met Wednesday and Thursday in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.
The secretary of state had been scheduled to spend three days in Mongolia, the final stop on a four-country journey to Asia. But on Thursday night, during a banquet speech at the end of his first day here, he told Mongolian officials that he would be returning to the United States today.