Tuesday, February 19, 1991

Pres. Bush says 2/18 Soviet proposal for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait "falls well short of what would be required" to end war with Iraq [NYT, LAT, WP, WT, CSM 2/20].

F.M. Aziz meets in Tehran with Iranian Pres. Rafsanjani; Baghdad gives no formal response to Soviet plan but reiterates 2/15 proposal. Iranian F.M. Velayati says he believes Iraq is "ready to withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally" [NYT, WP 2/20].

UN Sec. Council authorizes Red Cross to make emergency deliveries of water purification equipment to Iraq [NYT 2/20].

Allied planes attack targets in Iraq and Kuwait; single SCUD missile is launched at Israel, no casualties; U.S. A-10 plane is lost in combat, bringing American total to 22, and allied total to 31; U.S. military official says that Iraqi troops in Kuwait and southern Iraq are suffering "horrendous' casualties [JAA, JDS 2/19 in FBIS 2/20; NYT, LAT, WP 2/20; MET 3/5].

In separate forums, Soviet F.M. Bessmertnykh, envoy Primakov, and spokesman Ignatenko argue against beginning ground offensive against Iraq, saying its effect would only be enormous suffering and destruction; they add that Soviet proposal makes ground war unnecessary [NYT, WP 2/20].

U.S. commander Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf says Iraqi military machine is on verge of collapse, losing about 2 battalions of tanks a day to allied air strikes [LAT, WP 2/20].

Pope John Paul II summons bishops from countries involved in Gulf war, including U.S. and Iraq, to unprecedented peace-seeking conference from 3-4 March at the Vatican [MEM 2/19; LAT 2/20].

Moving to contain diplomatic fallout from its support for Iraq, PLO says it accepts the "spirit" of UN Sec. Council resolution 660; PLO also renews its call for talks with Israel [AFP 2/19 in FBIS 2/19].

In Luxembourg, EC "troika" foreign ministers decide to avoid talks with Yasir Arafat in their planned series of Middle East trips (cf. 2/21) [MEM 2/20].

U.S. State Dep't. reiterates its criticism of Israel's policy of administrative detention in light of Taher Shritch case [NYT, MEM 2/201