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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  151457

Title:  "US Continues to Press Iraq to Free All Foreigners." (900820)

Date:  19900820


08/20/90 1Me Re U.S. CONTINUES TO PRESS IRAQ TO FREE ALL FOREIGNERS (Order closing Kuwait embassies restated) (860) By Russell Dybvik USIA Diplomatic Correspondent

Washington -- The United States has lodged renewed protests with Iraq over the treatment of foreigners in Kuwait and demanded that Baghdad allow all foreigners to leave both Iraq and Kuwait.

State Department deputy spokesman Richard Boucher said August 20 that "We met over the weekend with Iraqi authorities in Kuwait City and we have protested the treatment of foreigners there. We've made these protests both in Iraq and in Kuwait."

Boucher noted that the U.N. secretary general has dispatched two high-level U.N. envoys to Baghdad to seek the immediate release of all foreign nationals from Iraq and Kuwait at the request of the Security Council. Meanwhile representatives of the five permanent members of the council held informal consultations in New York August 20 on the gulf crisis and how to ensure that U.N. sanctions against Iraq are effectively implemented, he said.

On August 18 the council unanimously adopted Resolution 664 which demands that Iraq immediately permit and facilitate the departure of foreign nationals from Iraq and Kuwait. The resolution also demands that Iraq rescind its order for the closure of diplomatic and consular missions in Kuwait by August 24.

"We reject the basic premise of Iraq's diplomatic note ordering foreign missions to close in Kuwait," Boucher said.

The U.N. resolution "makes very clear that those sorts of statements do not have any standing," he said, adding the U.S. has discussed the Iraqi demand with other governments.

He noted that "Any Iraqi attempt to withdraw diplomatic status from our embassy or other foreign embassies in Kuwait has absolutely no legal standing. We have reminded Iraq that it remains responsible and accountable for its treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises in Kuwait and in Iraq," the deputy spokesman said.

There are about 2,500 Americans in Kuwait and about 530 in Iraq, including 130 U.S. diplomatic personnel and

GE 2 POL105 dependents in Kuwait and about 30 diplomatic personnel in Iraq.

Asked about President Bush's characterization of the Americans in Kuwait and Iraq as "hostages," Boucher said "it dramatizes...the circumstances under which these people are being held, the fact that Iraq has put forth essentially political conditions for their departure...."

U.S. efforts, Boucher also stressed, "continue to be devoted, both in our approaches to Iraqi authorities in Baghdad and Kuwait, as well as in the United Nations and elsewhere, in securing the right of all foreigners to depart.

"Throughout this crisis, we've been in very close touch with other countries, both at the United Nations, in capitals and in Washington. There are a variety of countries whose citizens are in similar circumstances and of course we have approached the Iraqis jointly as well as consulted amongst ourselves."

Questioned about reports that citizens from five "neutral" countries, including Switzerland, are being allowed to leave Iraq, Boucher told reporters they should ask the Iraqis for an explanation. "I think the fact that they are able to let some out is an indication that there's no legitimate reason for holding others," the deputy spokesman declared.

Acknowledging there have been reports of Americans having been rounded up or moved by Iraqi authorities in Baghdad, Boucher could not confirm the reports nor could he say how many people may have been involved.

"We are advising American citizens to remain in their homes and to maintain a low profile" in Baghdad, he said. Joseph Wilson, the U.S. charge d'affaires, made "a strong demarche" to the Iraqi foreign ministry August 18 to protest the denial of consular access to 35 Americans removed from the Rashid Hotel last week.

Shortly before Boucher's news briefing, the State Department issued a new travel advisory, cautioning all Americans to "defer all non-essential travel to Jordan," and said it was permitting non-essential embassy personnel and dependents to leave Jordan on a voluntary basis. It advised other American citizens in Jordan to do the same, citing the Iraqi military invasion of Kuwait and continuing unstable conditions in the region.

Similar travel advisories have been issued since the August 2 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait for most countries in the gulf. On August 19 the State Department ordered the departure of non-essential embassy personnel and dependents from Yemen and urged Americans to defer travel to that country because

GE 3 POL105 of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and subsequent anti- American demonstrations in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.

Asked about the interception of a ship which reportedly was to pick up Sudanese refugees from the Jordanian port of Aqaba, Boucher said the U.S. has talked to both the government of Jordan and to the government of Sudan about the incident.

"The mission of our ships is to implement the U.N. sanctions against Iraq," the deputy spokesman said. "We have no intention of interfering with any vessel or cargo which is allowed under U.N. sanctions and our actions are directed in no way against Jordan. Our sole purpose is to ensure that sanctions against Iraq are respected." NNNN

File Identification:  08/20/90, PO-105; 08/20/90, AE-112; 08/20/90, EP-116; 08/20/90, EU-104; 08/20/90, NE-116; 08/20/90, WF-U02; 08/21/90, AR-210; 08/21/90, AS-211; 08/21/90, NA-203
Product Name:  Wireless File; USINFO
Product Code:  WF; US
Languages:  Spanish; Arabic
Keywords:  IRAQ-US RELATIONS/Policy; HOSTAGES/Policy; IRAQ-KUWAIT RELATIONS/Policy; INVASIONS/Policy; BUSH, GEORGE/Foreign Relations: Near East & South Asia
Thematic Codes:  1NE
Target Areas:  AF; EA; EU; NE; AR
PDQ Text Link:  151457; 151491

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