”We extend a hand of friendship and peace to the people of Iran in spite of the bitterness we feel deep inside for the aggression that has afflicted us.”
President Saddam Hussein of Iraq
Today, President Saddam Hussein of Iraq announced that he would accept the UN proposed cease fire if Iran agreed to begin direct peace talks immediately after the truce.
”Iraq is ready to effect a cease-fire on condition Iran announces clearly, equivocally and officially its approval of initiating direct negotiations with Iraq immediately after a cease-fire and implementation of all aspects of Resolution 598,” President Hussein said.
”If Iran refuses this compromise offer, it is once more responsible for shedding further blood and rejecting the path of peace,” Hussein concluded.
Tehran officials refused to comment on the announcement, arguing that they needed to read the precise wording of the speech to assess its significance.
Last month, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini surprised the world community when he announced that he had decided to accept the terms of the cease fire. Nevertheless, he described his decision as ”worse than swallowing poison.”
UN diplomats welcome the news but remain very cautious about the prospect of a cease fire between the two countries considering the immense hatred between them and the complete lack of trust in each other officials.
President Hussein also announced that his country would allow a United Nations peacekeeping force in the war zone to monitor cease-fire arrangements.
However, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar has warned that the organization will run out of funds this fall if the US is not paying its contribution. The UN is urging United States to turn over $44 million that Congress has appropriated for 1988 but is so far withholding.
The United States arrears to the UN amount to $466.9 million. The sum represents two-thirds of the total of unpaid assessments owed by all member States.
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