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Iraq Says it Accepts U.N. Formula for Truce

October 2, 1987

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Iraq said today it accepts a proposal by the United Nations chief that an inquiry into responsibility for its war with Iran could begin at the same time as a cease-fire.

Iran has said it is willing to observe an informal cease-fire while the inquiry panel works on identifying the aggressor in the 7-year-old war. It has said it would observe a formal cessation of hostilities after the aggressor, which it says is Iraq, is identified.

But the Tehran government has not committed itself to implementing other aspects of the U.N. peace plan, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, commenting here today, said no progress can be made until those assurances are made.

Asked at a news conference whether Iraq would go along with U.N. Secretary- General Javier Perez de Cuellar’s proposal on the timing of the truce and inquiry, he responded: ″I have nothing against that, but the secretary- general gave me a package. He gave me a menu ... The other party is speaking (about) one part of the menu and saying ’I would like to have this only.‴

Iran on Thursday told Perez de Cuellar that Iraq, the United States and Britain were acting together to ″kill the hope″ for the settlement he is trying to negotiate.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 598, passed in July, demands a cease-fire and withdrawal of troops to internationally recognized borders as a first step.

Then, without specifying timing, the resolution calls for U.N. verification, exchange of prisoners of war, negotiations on a long-term settlement, restraint by third parties and the establishment of an impartial body to determine who began the war.

Iran says Iraq began the war by invading Iran in September 1980. Iraq says the conflict started weeks earlier when Iranian artillery shelled border towns. Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz said Thursday that Iran’s demands are a stalling technique, showing that Iran is not interested in ending the war.

The permanent members of the Security Council - the United States, Soviet Union, China, France and Britain - prepared to tell their 10 non-permanent partners on the council the peace talks should continue based on Iran’s position - that the inquiry begin with any cease-fire.

Consultations of the full council were expected next week, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Aziz said Thursday that despite various Iranian statements supporting certain elements of the resolution, Tehran has made no firm commitment to comply fully with the peace plan. ″I cannot rely on rumors, bits and pieces about an Iranian position,″ Aziz told The Associated Press.

″I want an explicit Iranian position similar to my position and then I will start discussing the details with the secretary-general,″ he had said.

″There’s a lot of blanks in there and they have to be filled through negotiations,″ Aziz said Thursday. ″We are ready to sit with him and tell him the blanks, not only the timetable, a lot of specifics and details that have to be agreed upon.″

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, in a letter to Perez de Cuellar released Thursday, accused Iraq of escalating the war and, along with the United States and Britain, of working against peace.

″These concerted efforts are designed to sabotage the efforts of the secretary-general and, if successful, will leave a military solution as the only viable alternative,″ Iran told Perez de Cuellar in the letter.

The Iranian letter, dated Tuesday, said Iran ″has maintained a constructive and consistent approach″ toward a peace settlement, despite ″the fundamental shortcomings inherent in Resolution 598.″

″Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom, through their words and deeds, may interrupt the momentum currently created and kill the hope for any positive development,″ Velayati said.

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