MOSCOW, DEC. 22 -- The Soviet Union is prepared to discuss an arms embargo against the warring parties in the Persian Gulf, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told King Hussein of Jordan here today, the Soviet news agency Tass reported.
Moscow has proposed sending a special United Nations naval force to the gulf to help end the seven-year-old war between Iran and Iraq, Tass said in a report of the wide-ranging Kremlin discussion between Hussein and Gorbachev.
"But we are also open to a serious discussion of any other ideas," Tass quoted Gorbachev as saying. "We deem it necessary to use every means for ending the war."
Western diplomats in the Soviet capital consider the meeting between Hussein and Gorbachev a modest but important diplomatic step toward mobilizing outside pressure against the combatants in the gulf. Hussein is a leader of the Arab states interested in forcing a cease-fire and Moscow is in the best position to influence Iran and Iraq since it maintains close diplomatic ties to both sides, the diplomats said.
In a separate press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Petrovsky said that the Kremlin is considering the arms embargo, which it has been reluctant to endorse so far, in connection with a withdrawal of U.S. naval forces from the region.
Petrovsky said the Soviet Union has called for a meeting of senior military officials from U.N. Security Council member countries to discuss forming a U.N. naval force for the gulf, and would send the chief of the Soviet General Staff, Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev.
Washington has sought Soviet support for an arms embargo against Iran for months, but has rejected earlier Soviet proposals that it withdraw its ships from the gulf. U.S. officials have called the Soviet proposal for a U.N. force "premature."
According to the Tass account of today's Kremlin meeting, Hussein told Gorbachev that Arab leaders favor a U.N. arms embargo.
In response, Gorbachev referred to the U.S. arms shipments to Iran uncovered in the Iran-contra affair. "There are doubts if those who declare for embargo the loudest," the Kremlin leader was quoted by Tass as saying, "and who, by the way, were caught at secretly supplying arms to Iran, will be observing the embargo."
In late July Moscow joined the United States and other members of the Security Council in passing Resolution 598, which called for a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq. Gorbachev stressed that the resolution is still the backbone of the Soviet policy toward the gulf war, Tass said.
Gorbachev also stressed Moscow's interest in convening an international conference on Middle East peace and blamed the United States and Israel for the lack of progress in convening it.
In talks between Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher Masri, both sides condemned Israel for the violence in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to Tass.