CAIRO, DEC. 29 -- The leaders of six Arab states of the Persian Gulf appealed to the U.N. Security Council today to impose sanctions on Iran for its refusal to accept a cease-fire in its war with Iraq.
Speaking at the close of a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud Faisal, told reporters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that the GCC members also welcomed proposals to create an international naval force to protect civilian shipping in the gulf.
He added that the six GCC states will send envoys to the capitals of the five permanent members of the Security Council to urge them to take measures to enforce Resolution 598, the council's July 29 cease-fire order, by imposing "sanctions on the state that does not accept it" -- an obvious reference to Iran.
The final communique adopted by the six GCC states -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates -- called on the Security Council to "shoulder its responsibility" on 598. Iraq has accepted the resolution, but Iran has indicated it would agree to a cease-fire only if Iraq is condemned as the aggressor and forced to pay what would likely amount to billions of dollars in war reparations.
In what appeared to be an effort to move the superpowers closer to an agreement that would free the Security Council to act, Saud said the GCC states would "welcome an international naval force to protect shipping in international waters" of the gulf.
Citing the threat posed to both regional security and international shipping by the "dangerous escalation" of the gulf war, the communique said the GCC leaders also approved a joint security plan to cooperate more closely in matters related to internal security and defense.
It did not go into details and the extent of the plan was not clear. In the past, GCC efforts to increase military cooperation have been only partly successful because of logistical difficulties, incompatibility of weapons systems and political rivalries.