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Gorbachev to Hussein: U.S. Is Roadblock

December 23, 1987|WILLIAM J. EATON | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev told Jordan's King Hussein on Tuesday that the United States and Israel are blocking attempts to convene an international conference on the Middle East, the official Tass news agency reported.

Gorbachev and Hussein agreed that only an international gathering would be able to reach a comprehensive and fair settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute, Tass said.

The Kremlin chief, who recently returned from his third summit meeting with President Reagan, at which the Middle East and other regional conflicts were discussed, accused the United States and Israel of trying to impose their own methods of settlement.

"We say bluntly to the Americans and the Israelis that this is an unrealistic approach," Gorbachev was quoted as saying. "This course runs counter to the interests of Arabs and Israel alike."

Hussein Praises Arms Pact

Hussein, who is making a state visit to Moscow, praised the Soviet-American agreement to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear forces and said he hopes it will help to resolve regional conflicts, Tass said.

"Gorbachev and Hussein were of one mind that a comprehensive and fair Middle East settlement could be achieved only through convening a competent international conference," the news agency reported.

"It was stressed (at the meeting) that . . . the Palestinian factor remained the key element in a Middle East settlement," the Tass dispatch said.

Gorbachev was quoted as saying that support for such a conference is growing but that no real advance has been made because of U.S. and Israeli hesitancy to adopt this approach.

At the same time, he said, a Middle East conference must not be a cover for "separate deals"--apparently a reference to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty worked out in 1978 with the help of then-President Jimmy Carter.

Arms Embargo Favored

"The attempt to take the road of separate deals has not led anywhere," Gorbachev said. "This means that all the sides, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, should participate collectively in working out a fair, comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, including the Palestinian problem. This should be done both on a multilateral and bilateral basis."

Discussing the Iran-Iraq War, Hussein said he favors an arms embargo aimed at Iran on the grounds that it has refused to comply with a U.N. cease-fire resolution.

Gorbachev said Moscow is no longer opposed to discussion of an arms embargo by the U.N. Security Council.

The Tass report, however, quoted him indirectly as doubting whether the United States, which has strongly supported an arms embargo, would actually observe it. The Soviet leader mentioned the secret American sales of weapons to Iran by the Reagan Administration, Tass said.

No Arms for Iran

The news agency added: "The Soviet Union does not supply arms to Iran."

At a press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir F. Petrovsky echoed the Soviet willingness to consider an embargo but said the United Nations should consider a Soviet proposal for an international fleet under U.N. auspices to protect shipping in the gulf.

Petrovsky told a news conference that response to a U.N. cease-fire resolution adopted with Soviet-American backing this past summer had been slow and showed the "inflexibility" of Iran and Iraq.

He also said that the Soviet chief of staff, Marshal Sergei F. Akhromeyev, would attend a planning meeting of the U.N. military staff committee if other countries would send their military chiefs to a session on the proposed U.N. naval task force.

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