PARIS, AUG. 3 -- After a day of awkward silence, Arab states today joined the rest of the world in condemning Iraq's invasion of Kuwait but gave no indication that they were contemplating economic sanctions, let alone military action, to back up their demands.

As Iraqi troops pushed through Kuwait to the Saudi border, the Arab League denounced "the Iraqi aggression against the state of Kuwait" and called for an immediate troop withdrawal. At the same time, in an apparent warning to the West, the league rejected "any intervention or attempted intervention in Arab affairs."

Thirteen members of the 21-member league, which was meeting for a second straight day in Cairo, endorsed the resolution. Jordan, Mauritania, Yemen, Sudan, Djibouti and the Palestine Liberation Organization refused to approve the statement after the league waived its usual requirement of unanimity. Iraq did not have the right to vote and Libya's representative walked out before the members were polled.

Iraq rejected the resolution, Reuter reported. Deputy Prime Minister Saadoun Hammadi, the Iraqi delegate to the Cairo Arab League meeting said: "This position has torpedoed the efforts of Arab leaders to handle the situation. . . . {It} only serves only the Zionist-American violence against Iraq." Baghdad Radio, however, reported that Iraq would begin troop withdrawals from Kuwait on Sunday.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry today declared that the Iraqi invasion could have "dangerous repercussions" for the entire Middle East and urged a peaceful settlement of the crisis. "Iraq must stop trying to change the government in Kuwait by force and leave such internal issues to {the} Kuwaiti people to decide by their own free will," the ministry said.

The six Persian Gulf states aligned within the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council also abandoned their restraint and urged Baghdad to cease its aggression. The Gulf states, whose foreign ministers met while attending a conference of Islamic countries in Cairo, said in a statement today, "We reject the attack and do not recognize anything resulting from it."

In New York, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council met to consider a U.S. proposal for international sanctions. In Brussels, the United States informed its NATO allies that it was contemplating "contingency actions" if Iraqi forces should move beyond Kuwait.

Jordan's King Hussein announced that a summit meeting of several Arab leaders would be held in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. The participants were expected to include the Jordanian monarch, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and Kuwait's emir, Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah, who reportedly fled to Saudi Arabia in the early hours of Thursday's invasion.

King Hussein visited Baghdad today but there was no firm confirmation that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would attend the summit.

Morocco and Algeria also condemned the invasion today. Syrian President Hafez Assad, perhaps Saddam's most bitter foe in the Arab world, put his country's troops on alert.

The anticipation that his Arab brethren would fail to muster any kind of effective early retaliation for his seizure of oil-rich Kuwait appears to have been an important factor in Saddam's calculations.

Besides the feckless reputation of the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council -- designed as a security alliance linking Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- Saddam also appears to have banked on his neighbors' refusal to back up their belief in Arab unity by defending Kuwait militarily.

While border skirmishes have been frequent, no Arab government until now had managed to successfully invade and topple another Arab state.

The border disputes can be traced to the fragile borders drawn around the new Arab states that arose from the postwar collapse of British and French empires in the region. Like the countries of Africa that emerged from foreign rule with national frontiers that paid scant attention to ancient tribal animosities, more than a score of Arab states nurture conflicts involving religion, ideology and clans beneath a veneer of unity rarely manifested except in hostility toward Israel.

A dispute over borders has fomented distrust between Iraq and Kuwait ever since the sheikdom was founded in 1961 under British protection. Iraqi claims to Kuwaiti land ostensibly date back to pre-colonial times, a justification that Saddam has cited repeatedly.

But the conflict turned bellicose, largely over money. Kuwait's vast income, more than $13,000 a year per person, became an increasingly attractive target given the dilapidated state of Iraq's war-torn, centralized economy. And Saddam's Baath party, which has pursued a revolutionary path for Iraqi society through a combination of Arab nationalism and socialism, has always regarded Kuwait's ruling elite as a degenerate feudal creation.

Despite the vast amount of money that the Arab sheikdoms on the Persian Gulf loaned Iraq during its eight-year war with Iran, Saddam often has expressed irritation that his country endured huge casualties in fending off Iran's Islamic revolutionaries while the sheikdoms continued to pile up riches.