U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, beginning an 11th-hour peace mission to Iraq, won European Community support today for his plan to send a U.N. peacekeeping force after Iraq withdraws from Kuwait.
Perez de Cuellar then left for Amman, Jordan, and planned to go to Baghdad on Saturday for weekend talks with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The U.N. chief discussed the gulf crisis for 35 minutes in Paris with French President Francois Mitterrand, then flew to Geneva for meetings with foreign ministers of the 12-member European Community.
“I do not have any precise message” for Hussein, Perez de Cuellar said.
“I hope that I will be heard and I hope I will find a wish for peace,” he added. “I don’t dare say I’m optimistic, but even so I hold out hope.”
German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said the EC ministers supported Perez de Cuellar’s proposal for a U.N. peacekeeping role in the region. Genscher also said he hoped Perez de Cuellar’s mission would make Iraq “aware that the world community thus opens the possibility for a peaceful solution before the Jan. 15 deadline.”
“It is alone in the hands of Saddam to clear the way for a settlement by getting out of Kuwait,” he added.
Perez de Cuellar told reporters that a U.N. peacekeeping role would have to be preceded by an agreement that both Iraqi forces in Kuwait and the multinational forces in Saudi Arabia pull back.