News

DATE=1/14/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-244173 TITLE=ARAB/IRAQ NEGOTIATIONS (L ONLY) BYLINE=RICHARD ENGEL DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: IN THE MIDDLE EAST, ARAB DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO FIND A SOLUTION TO THE IRAQI CRISIS OVER UNITED NATIONS SANCTIONS ARE NEARING DEADLOCK. RICHARD ENGEL REPORTS FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU IN CAIRO THAT IRAQ SAYS IT WILL ONLY ACCEPT A SOLUTION IF IT IS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN NEGOTIATIONS, BUT SAUDI ARABIA HAS INDICATED THAT MEETING WITH IRAQ IS OUT OF THE QUESTION. TEXT: IRAQ'S VICE-PRESIDENT TAHA YASSIN RAMADAN TOLD REPORTERS (LATE WEDNESDAY) IN BAGHDAD ANY RESOLUTION WHICH IS NOT DISCUSSED OR NEGOTIATED WITH IRAQ WILL BE REJECTED AND NOT IMPLEMENTED. THE IRAQI STATEMENT COMES AMID INCREASED DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO FIND A SOLUTION TO IRAQ'S CONFLICT WITH THE UNITED NATIONS. EARLIER ON WEDNESDAY, FIVE ARAB FOREIGN MINISTERS (EGYPT, OMAN, SAUDI ARABIA, SYRIA, AND YEMEN) MET IN CAIRO TO COORDINATE POSITIONS BEFORE A GENERAL ARAB FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING IN EGYPT, SCHEDULED FOR LATER THIS MONTH. DETAILS OF THE MEETING WEDNESDAY WERE NOT MADE PUBLIC. /// OPT /// THE PRELIMINARY MEETING IS SIMILAR TO ONES HELD IN SAUDI ARABIA IN RECENT DAYS. BUT THE IRAQI NEWS AGENCY QUOTED IRAQ'S FOREIGN MINISTER AS EXPRESSING DISPLEASURE IRAQ WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PLANNING MEETINGS. THE IRAQI MINISTER REPORTEDLY SAID THOSE MEETING IN CAIRO SHOULD REALIZE THAT DISCUSSING ANY IRAQI AFFAIR WITHOUT BAGHDAD'S APPROVAL AND WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF ITS REPRESENTATIVE IS TO DISREGARD ALL NORMS THAT REGULATE DEALING BETWEEN COUNTRIES. /// END OPT /// ARAB DIPLOMATS SAY THE ARAB FOREIGN MINISTERS ARE DISCUSSING A SAUDI PLAN TO EASE THE U-N IMPOSED SANCTIONS ON IRAQ. EGYPT'S STATE-OWNED "AL AHRAM" NEWSPAPER SAYS (THURSDAY) THE CAIRO FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING WILL FOCUS ON CALLING FOR AN ARAB SUMMIT. BUT CONVENING AN ARAB SUMMIT TO SOLVE THE IRAQI CRISIS WILL FACE OPPOSITION FROM THE GULF STATES. SAUDI ARABIA'S OFFICIAL PRESS AGENCY SAYS HOLDING AN ARAB SUMMIT OR MINISTERIAL MEETING IN WHICH SADDAM HUSSEIN AND, WHAT IT CALLED "HIS GANG" TAKE PART, WILL NOT BE SUCCESSFUL. THE SAUDI AGENCY FURTHER CALLED SADDAM HUSSEIN "A DISEASE THAT SHOULD BE REMOVED." SAUDI ARABIA HAS TREMENDOUS OF INFLUENCE AMONG THE GULF STATES. THEREFORE IF IRAQ INSISTS ON ONLY ACCEPTING A SOLUTION THAT IT HELPS DRAFT, THE IRAQI CRISIS IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE. (SIGNED) NEB/RHE/RAE/JO 14-Jan-99 8:03 AM EST (1303 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .