Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz said yesterday his country will not accept either a de facto or a partial cease-fire in its war with Iran.
He also declined to make clear whether Iraq will continue temporarily to refrain from attacking ships in the Persian Gulf while the United Nations seeks a full-scale peace.
Following a 90-minute meeting with Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Aziz emphasized to reporters that anything less than a "comprehensive" end to the fighting, including ground warfare as well as attacks on shipping, would benefit Iran.
"Iran should not be given any prize for its policy of intimidation and blackmail," he said.
Iraq has not attacked Persian Gulf shipping since July 15, five days before the U.N. Security Council resolution calling on both sides to end the fighting and return to pre-war boundaries. Aziz told Shultz, according to State Department officials, that Iraq is ready to implement the resolution but that it must be cautious because this is "a life-or-death struggle" against Iran, according to State Department officials.
U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who conferred with Aziz in New York last week, is attempting to win Iran's acceptance of the U.N. resolution. Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy, who participated in the Shultz-Aziz session, told reporters as Aziz stood by that both sides in today's meeting think it is "important" for Perez de Cuellar to seek Iran's compliance.
This statement suggested that Aziz might agree to a U.S. request for a respite in the attacks on shipping long enough to permit Perez de Cuellar to seek Iran's acceptance of the U.N. resolution. A State Department official said, however, that Iraq's position on this point remains vague.
When a reporter pointed out that Iraq has not attacked Persian Gulf shipping in recent days, Aziz shrugged. He added that as foreign minister, he does not interfere in military operations.
Aziz said he and Shultz had discussed a second U.N. resolution mandating international sanctions, such as a ban on arms shipments, against Iran if it refuses to comply with the cease-fire demanded by the July 20 Security Council resolution. Aziz said Iraq would like Perez de Cuellar to report "as soon as possible" on Iran's position, triggering the second resolution.
State Department officials said it is likely that the Security Council will give the U.N. Secretary General until mid-September to seek Iranian compliance before moving to the enforcement resolution.
While Iran is deemed unlikely to accept an end to what Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has declared to be a holy war, some State Department officials have expressed hope in recent days that Tehran would wind down the war in unspoken or de facto fashion if Baghdad does the same.
"A de facto situation is not acceptable to Iraq," Aziz said following his meeting with Shultz. He said Iran should be required to accept formally and explicitly the U.N. resolution demanding an end to the war.
Iraq has initiated most of the attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, which started in 1984. The attacks are among its most important tactics for punishing Iran, which ships most of its oil through the Gulf. Iraq exports most of its oil through on-shore pipelines.
In the meeting with Shultz, according to State Department officials, Aziz expressed appreciation for the U.S. naval protection of reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers. Despite the risks, Aziz was quoted as saying, it is important for the United States to persevere.
In Baghdad, the Iraqi News Agency said President Reagan had pledged in a message to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to do his utmost to bring peace and security to the Gulf. The news agency said Reagan made the statement in a cable of congratulations on the 19th anniversary of Iraq's July 17 revolution.