The U.N. Security Council adopted a strong resolution Thursday condemning Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, with several diplomats expressing alarm at what they considered a blatant danger to peace and security in the Middle East.
Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and several council members said everyone was waiting to see what action the Arab League, meeting in Cairo, would take.
However, the emergency Arab League session failed to publicly condemn the invasion and adjourned its meeting for 24 hours as Arab leaders held urgent consultations on how to handle the crisis.
One senior diplomat on the Security Council said he thought there might be some further action at the United Nations if Iraq fails to move to withdraw its troops.
"I don't think people will just sit back and do nothing," he told reporters. "This is not one of those cases where the council passes a resolution and then shrugs its shoulders."
Other diplomats said it is highly unlikely that the council would resort to measures such as economic sanctions. But several said the United Nations would be used as a forum to persuade individual nations to pressure Iraq further.
Iraqi Deputy U.N. Ambassador Sabah Talat Kadrat told the council early Thursday that his country's forces would be withdrawn as soon as order had been restored, which he said he hoped would take days or weeks at most.
The council's resolution condemned the invasion and demanded that "Iraq withdraw immediately and unconditionally all its forces" to their Aug. 1 positions."
It also called on Iraq and Kuwait to begin immediately intensive negotiations for a resolution of their differences and said the council will meet again as necessary to consider further steps to ensure compliance with its resolution.
The council acted under articles 39 and 40 of the U.N. Charter, dealing with breaches of the peace. The same section of the Charter provides for possible sanction in the event of noncompliance.
Of the 15 council members, 14 supported the resolution. Only Yemen, the sole Arab member of the council, said it could not participate in the vote.
United Nations: Security Council demands Iraq's immediate withdrawal from Kuwait.
United States: It slaps embargo on Iraqi oil, freezes Kuwaiti and Iraqi assets, diverts naval battle group to region.
Soviet Union: Suspends arms shipments to Iraq.
European Community: Issues a statement of condemnation.
Britain: Freezes Kuwaiti assets.
France: Freezes Iraqi assets.
Arab League: Meets in Cairo but adjourns without taking action.
Iran: Condemns invasion and warns it "cannot remain indifferent to any development which could endanger . . . national security."
Israel: Says attack proves Saddam Hussein is "threat to the entire world."
Turkey: Closes border with Iraq.
Japan: Expresses hope for peaceful resolution.