AMMAN, JORDAN, OCT. 7 -- Buoyed by recent comments from Western leaders, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Jordan's King Hussein sought today to give new impetus to Arab peacemaking in the Persian Gulf.
Arafat, who arrived here last night from Baghdad, was reported to be concentrating on recent indications from the United States, Britain and France that an Iraqi pullout from Kuwait and a peaceful end to the gulf crisis could give rise to an international effort to resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute as well.
"A solution to all problems of the region is a basic requirement," Arafat told the official Jordanian news agency Petra.
The PLO leader, who conferred with Hussein on his Baghdad meetings with Iraq's President Saddam Hussein and Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, has included such a linkage prominently in several mediation attempts undertaken in partnership with the Jordanian monarch and other Arab leaders.
The Arab efforts so far have run aground on Iraq's refusal to initiate any gulf peace process by pulling out of Kuwait as demanded by the United States and its allies in the Arab world and the West as well as the U.N. Security Council. European Community foreign ministers reaffirmed that demand at informal discussions today near Venice, news agencies reported.
"We all agreed there were no compromises to be made as regards the content of Security Council resolutions," British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told reporters. The resolutions call for Iraq to pull out of Kuwait and allow restoration of the legitimate government there.
Saddam, insisting Kuwait is now an Iraqi province, has declared his government is open to negotiations on the issue only if Israeli occupation of Arab lands and Syrian occupation of Lebanon are considered at the same time. This stand was reiterated forcefully here Thursday by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Taha Yassin Ramadan.
Although this apparently leaves the crisis in a standoff, Arafat's aides here pointed to recent speeches to the U.N. General Assembly by President Bush and President Francois Mitterrand of France, along with a speech last week in Britain by Hurd. To varying degrees, Arafat's aides said, all three abetted compromise because they indicated Western governments believe an Iraqi pullout from Kuwait would create an atmosphere in which attention to the Arab-Israeli dispute would be more likely than before.
Similar considerations have been part of Soviet policy since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2. The Soviet ambassador to Jordan, Youri Griadounov, emphasized today that Moscow's first priority is to avoid warfare in the gulf, while at the same time insisting that Iraq must abide by the Security Council resolutions ordering its withdrawal from Kuwait.
Griadounov said part of Soviet policy is to seek these objectives by encouraging Arab mediation efforts such as that underway by Arafat and Hussein. "What we cannot accept is that the efforts to solve this crisis center exclusively on military means," he added in an interview.
At the EC meeting, Italy announced that its ambassador to Kuwait and his first secretary have arrived in Baghdad after abandoning the embassy in Kuwait Saturday because fuel and water ran out.
Of the 12 EC countries, Germany, Britain and France are now the only ones to keep their embassies open, along with the United States and a number of Arab countries.
The Associated Press reported:
Hundreds of Kuwaitis crossed into Saudi Arabia on Sunday after Iraq suddenly relaxed restrictions on Kuwaitis leaving the occupied emirate. Some refugees said it was the latest move in an Iraqi campaign to depopulate Kuwait, isolate the resistance movement and prepare for war.
Kuwaiti refugees at the Khafji border crossing in Saudi Arabia said the border opened on Friday following intensified night searches in Kuwait City, which prompted many to leave out of fear. They said Iraqi troops were confiscating all identification papers in Kuwait.
That raised Saudi fears that the Iraqis planned to infiltrate agents into the kingdom. About 1,000 people arrived from Kuwait over the weekend, most lacking any identification, Saudi border officials said.