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5 Big Powers Hold Quiet Talks in Bid to Resolve Gulf War

May 15, 1987|From the Washington Post

UNITED NATIONS — The United States, the Soviet Union, China, Britain and France have held a series of unannounced meetings over the last three months seeking to draft a joint peace proposal to end the Iran-Iraq War.

All five agree that Iran and Iraq should observe a cease-fire and withdraw to their borders, according to diplomats who have participated in the talks in New York.

But the diplomats caution that agreement on a workable peace plan remains a distant prospect, because significant differences have surfaced on how the five should respond if either side in the 6 1/2-year-old Persian Gulf conflict rejects their proposal.

U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who initiated the meetings in February, suggested that the five agree to impose a joint moratorium on arms shipments to the two combatants if necessary to persuade them to end the fighting.

France and Britain have both resisted the idea of an embargo on the grounds that it would be more damaging to Iraq, while Iran is more likely to resist a call for a cease-fire.

The Iraqis obtain most of their weapons through official sales, a French source pointed out, while Iran buys most of its arms on the black market and would be less limited by formal sanctions.

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