Saudis don't rule out use of force against Iraq
Other nations comment on crisis
November 17, 1997
Web posted at: 8:05 a.m. EST (1305 GMT)
(CNN) -- In a statement issued by Saudi Arabia on Monday following a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the government called on Iraq to comply with U.N. Security Council demands and did not rule out use of force against Iraq.
As for whether Saudi Arabia would permit overflights of U.S. planes if military action became necessary, a Saudi official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said: "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
These other international developments on Monday in the Iraq crisis:
Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said Russia was talking with the Iraqi government to try to find a peaceful diplomatic solution. "Russia is active in many different areas, including with contacts with Baghdad," Primakov told reporters in Moscow.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Derek Fatchett said Saddam Hussein, realizing he has made a "big strategic blunder," was now looking for a way out of a confrontation with the United Nations.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Tokyo, Fatchett said Saddam started the confrontation over U.N. weapons inspections because he believed there were divisions over the issue in the U.N. Security Council. "I think he now recognizes that division is not there," Fatchett said.
Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said military action against Iraq was still possible despite new hopes for a diplomatic solution. "The Russians are talking to the Iraqis. We continue to talk to the Iraqis. The Americans want us to talk to the Iraqis. Somebody has to do it," he said in a radio interview.
President Jacques Chirac, during a visit to Malaysia, said there appeared to be "some form of detente" emerging in a standoff between Iraq and the United Nations. But Vedrine rejected a suggestion that France could mediate the Iraq crisis, saying: "We are not halfway (between Washington and Baghdad)."
Foreign Minister Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said Kuwait will not serve as a launch pad for any attack on its neighbor and former occupier Iraq. In a statement published in a Kuwaiti newspaper, the foreign minister said: "The United States does not need to use Kuwaiti territory. They have aircraft carriers and don't need bases in Kuwait or elsewhere."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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