No unity yet on sending Annan to Iraq
U.S. orders 5,000-6,000 more troops to Kuwait
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was unable to win agreement Monday among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to endorse a personal trip to Baghdad to negotiate an end to the Iraq crisis.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen has signed a deployment order to send between 5,000 and 6,000 additional troops to Kuwait, bringing the number of U.S. ground troops in the Persian Gulf region to about 10,000.
Cohen, underscoring the United States' determination to force Iraq to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to complete their work, said the additional troops were being deployed for "purely defensive purposes."
Cohen made his comments Monday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."
U.N. chief meets with permanent members
At the United Nations, Annan said he met again with representatives of the five members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and had "very constructive" discussions.
The five nations are in "intensive consultations," he said, and told him they "need a little more time to arrive at a conclusion."
Iraqis protest outside the U.N. office in Baghdad
Annan said will meet with the representatives again Tuesday and brief the full 15-member Security Council on Wednesday. He declined to discuss any details of the negotiations.
"I have made it clear that I would go to Baghdad once this series of consultations with the permanent five is concluded," he said.
U.S. holds fast to its position
At issue among the five nations is what Annan would negotiate if he went to Baghdad. Russia, China and France have urged various compromises, but the U.S. and Britain have held out for full access for U.N. weapons inspectors to search suspected weapons sites.
Asked if he would go to Baghdad to deliver an ultimatum, Annan said: "For the trip to be successful, it has to be carefully prepared, both here and in Baghdad. This is why I have been engaged in these discussions with the permanent five and as you I know, I'm in touch with the Iraqi side. That doesn't smell like an ultimatum."
Diplomatic sources said Annan was looking for a sign from Washington on Monday that it is ready for him to negotiate an agreement with Iraq.
However, after the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson reiterated the U.S. position that Iraq must grant full access to U.N. weapons inspectors.
"The United States is not for any deals or compromises," he said. British Ambassador John Weston also said that "we are not talking about compromises."
Annan had said he could not go without an agreement among the five permanent council members. On Monday, though, Annan indicated he might still go even if those differences could not be overcome.
Iraq: Annan's meeting 'did not go well'
Cohen, speaking on CNN, said Annan is free to go to Baghdad, but for one purpose.
"I would hope and I would expect that he would go there for the sole purpose of indicating to (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein that he must comply with the existing U.N. resolutions fully, without qualification, without restrictions, without seeking to undermine their effectiveness," Cohen said.
Anything else would call into question the credibility of the United Nations, he said.
Cohen also said the possibility of military action is getting closer. "The window is closing," he said.
In response to Cohen's comments, Nizar Hamdoon, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, said Annan's meeting with the five permanent members "did not go well" in terms of sending Annan to Baghdad.
"The Americans submitted a paper ... (and) they wanted Kofi Annan to go there and just deliver it as a messenger and not to try to find a solution, which obviously did not meet what the secretary-general was intending to do," Hamdoom said on "Larry King Live."
Hamdoon said the U.S. administration isn't interested in a diplomatic solution and is determined to go to war.
"They only talk about (a diplomatic solution)," he said. They don't do it. They have never spoken to us even during this last crisis."
Iraq warns Kuwait against 'deadly mistake'
In other developments on Monday:
Iraq warned Kuwait that it will "bear the consequences" if it lets U.S. forces attack from its soil. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf urged Kuwait against allowing U.S. forces to use its territory to attack Iraq.
Al-Sahaf said he was not threatening Kuwait, but "we hope they won't commit this deadly mistake."
The United States sent 3,000 troops to the Gulf from Fort Stewart, Georgia. The 3rd Infantry troops will join about 1,300 members of the 3rd Infantry already on the ground. Pentagon sources told CNN the troops will be going to Kuwait.
White House advisers met Monday to plan a series of public events designed to bolster public support in the U.S. for risky military strikes against Iraq. U.S. President Bill Clinton will address American military leaders and personnel Tuesday at the Pentagon. On Wednesday, the president's foreign policy team will conduct a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, to be carried live on CNN.
Reuters reported that Iraq has been attempting to buy crop-spraying equipment to increase its ability to deliver biological weapons. Reuters quoted defense sources in London that said Hussein was unlikely to use biological and chemical weapons if attacked, as that would mean admitting that he possessed them.
Bush: 'No regrets' Hussein not ousted in '91
Former U.S. President George Bush said he had no regrets that the U.S.-led coalition did not oust Hussein during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In remarks to be aired Tuesday on CNN, Bush said any attempts to "get" Hussein would have shattered the coalition. "I have no regrets," he said. "If you ask me am I happy he's still there ... absolutely not. But we did it right."
The White House dismissed a U.S. congressional report that Iraq had sent deadly weapons and Scud missiles to sympathetic Arab countries, including Libya, Sudan and Algeria. A White House official said there was no "credible evidence" that such weapons transfers took place.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said a diplomatic solution to the crisis was unlikely. Australia is sending 250 troops -- including 110 elite commandos -- to the Gulf Tuesday to join any U.S. attack. The troops are the first Australian soldiers sent into an overseas conflict since the Vietnam War.
U.S. troops held war games in the Kuwait desert. The
two-hour exercises north of Kuwait City were part of nearly continuous exercises the U.S. military has conducted in Kuwait since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Three U.N. surveyors who arrived in Baghdad during the weekend resumed work mapping the eight sites that Hussein has declared off-limits to U.N. inspectors who are trying to verify that all weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed.
Copyright 1997 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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