Monday, April 8, 1991

European Community leaders, including P.M. Major, call on UN to create safe haven in northern Iraq where Kurdish refugees could be protected from further repression. EC offers $180 million in humanitarian aid to help Kurds [NYT, WP, LAT 4/9].

Sec. Baker visits Iraq-Turkish border to witness plight of refugees; spending just 7 minutes there, Baker speaks with refugees, says it is up to international community and not just U.S. to help Kurds [NYT, WP, LAT, CSM 4/9].

Palestine National Salvation Front, loose alliance of PFLP-GC, Fateh Uprising, and Saiqa factions based in Damascus, put forward Syrian-backed initiative for reconciliation with mainstream PLO after 8-year split. Move is seen by analysts as continuing effort on part of Pres. Asad to strengthen his influence over PLO [NYT, LAT 4/9].

Israeli Defense Ministry announces it will free more than 1,000 of approximately 14,000 Palestinian prisoners. Those to be released are Palestinians who were not involved in intifada violence and who have served most of their sentences. Official says timing has to do with end of Ramadan rather then Sec. Baker's upcoming visit (cf. 4/10) [NYT, WP, LAT 4/9; JDS 4/8, JPD 4/9 in FBIS 4/9].

First major element-about 100,000 troops-of U.S. Army's VII Corps in southern Iraq begins withdraw back into Saudi Arabia; move is expected to take weeks [NYT 4/9].

Kurdish leaders say U.S. used Voice of Free Iraq radio station to incite anti-Saddam rebellion [WP 4/9].

Kuwaiti opposition leaders refuse to sign on to new interim gov't., saying emir is not committed to speedy restoration of parliament [LAT, CSM 4/9].

Kuwait reports that 628 people, including high-ranking Iraqi officers, will stand trial soon on charges of war crimes [AFP 4/8 in FBIS 4/9; LAT 4/9; MET 4/16].

Yasir Arafat is quoted as saying Palestinian fighters in Lebanon should be allowed to keep their weapons to defend refugee camps in defiance of Lebanese gov't. order to disarm [MEM 4/8].

Israeli Army Col. Yehuda Meir is convicted of ordering his soldiers to break the bones of Palestinians during early days of intifada [MET 4/16; JPI 4/20].