In Washington, Pres. Bush holds 2-hour meeting with Israeli P.M. Shamir, the 1st U.S.-Israel meeting since Gulf crisis began; Shamir calls talks "reassuring" [JDS 12/11, YA 12/12 in FBIS 12/12; NYT, LAT, WT, WP, CSM 12/12; JPI 12/22].
Nearly 500 Western and Japanese hostages leave Iraq and Kuwait on chartered planes; State Dep't. believes 268 Americans have left since 12/8, but that about 500 Americans have chosen to remain behind [INA 12/11 in FBIS 12/12; NYT, LAT, WP 12/12].
France announces it will send an additional 4,000 men to the Gulf, raising total number of French troops to 10,000. Pentagon says Iraq has placed an additional 20,000 troops in and around Kuwait in the past week [NYT, WP 12/12].
Sec. Baker gives tentative and qualified support for Soviet F.M. Shevardnadze's proposal for nuclear-free Middle East once Iraq leaves Kuwait [LAT, WT, WP 12/12].
First Polish ambassador to Israel since 1967 presents his credentials as Poland and Israel resume ties [HAM 12/12 in FBIS 12/19].
Despite U.S. initial commitment on 10/2 to give Israel $400 million in housing loan guarantees for Soviet immigrants, Bush admin. is still in process of reviewing loan arrangements and loan has not yet been implemented [MEM 12/12].
Italian F.M. Gianni De Michelis tells Le Monde "we cannot allow [Israel] to dictate the present and future security in the [Middle East]. I think it is necessary from now on to isolate Israel. One has seen with Iraq that isolation can have good results" [MEM 12/13].