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DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS ON THE PERSIAN GULF

Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz met for six hours in Geneva in a tense diplomatic effort to avert war in the Persian Gulf. “Regrettably,” said Baker, “I heard nothing today that suggested to me any Iraqi flexibility.”

French President Mitterrand said in Paris that war in the Persian Gulf could be averted if Iraz announced before next week’s U.N. deadline that it had begun a withdrawal from Kuwait.

In Washington, President Bush endorsed a possible last-minute U.N. mission to Baghdad, and said he is confident there is still time to avert hostilities. “I am not giving up on peace at all. We took the extra step in terms of the United States meeting with Iraq.” Bush noted that the Iraqis had refused to even take back to Saddam Hussein a letter from Bush that Baker delivered to Aziz.

In Baghdad, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein showed no sign he was backing down, declaring that Americans “will swim in their own blood” if war occurs in the Persian Gulf.

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