DHAHRAN, SAUDI ARABIA, OCT. 31 -- The foreign ministers of Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, allies in the multinational force arrayed against Iraq, met today in the Saudi port city of Jeddah following a Saudi session there with Soviet envoy Yevgeny Primakov.

The foreign ministers, who also met with Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, gave no explanation for the session, which appeared to have been hastily convened. Primakov briefed Saudi officials Monday on his meeting in Baghdad Sunday with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Saudi and Egyptian officials said today they heard nothing from Primakov to indicate a peaceful solution of the crisis could be reached. Both Arab states are demanding that Iraq first comply with United Nations and Arab League resolutions demanding a pullout from Kuwait before they talk to Baghdad.

Primakov defended his peace efforts in a statement in the Egyptian opposition weekly al-Ahali.

"We believe that the Soviet role assigned to me by the Soviet leadership has so far yielded positive results," Primakov said. "The most important of these is the shift in public opinion in favor of a peaceful settlement resulting from our persistance that there is room for cautious optimisim.

"This mission has led the U.S. to hesitate on the use of the military option. I am not saying that it has ruled it out, but it is at least hesitating while antiwar feelings have grown in Europe," the Soviet envoy said. "We are convinced that war in the gulf will lead to catastrophes."

On his return to Moscow, Primakov told reporters that "it seems to me that {Saddam} is more inclined to a political solution."

Primakov said, "I think there are some shifts on this issue," adding that there was "a difference" between Saddam's stance during their first meeting Oct. 5 and their second Oct. 28. He did not go into any detail on those shifts.

One source who spoke with Primakov's delegation here said the Soviets had noted that neither Saddam nor his foreign minister, Tarik Aziz, had repeated in the latest session their earlier statements that Kuwait was part of Iraq. The Soviet delegates also reportedly said Saddam relayed that he was "willing to talk to the Saudis," the source said.

"The Soviets were very much interested in an Arab get-together," the source said. "But they know it's difficult to get us together . . . . the common denominator is nonexistent."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today gave short shrift to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's suggestion for "an Arab mechanism" to resolve the Persian Gulf crisis. "If we are going to call an Arab summit while there is no clear vision," Mubarak said, "it will be a summit of insults. We reject summits of insults.

"We would like to ask if the Soviet envoy {Primakov} managed to reach something definite, so that we can . . . discuss something specific. We have not been told of it," Mubarak said. The Egyptian leader added that "we know Iraq is in a difficult position. But we are willing to help it after it accepts withdrawal."

A government-run paper in Syria also rejected the idea of an Arab summit now, saying it "could lead to a catastrophe."

In Moscow, Primakov said his one concrete success on his latest trip to Iraq was to secure the freedom of 34 Soviet military experts who were in imminent danger of becoming hostages. "The trip {to Iraq} was worth it, if only for that," Primakov said.

The Soviet envoy also got Saddam to agree to a timetable for the evacuation of Soviet citizens from Iraq. Primakov said that by the end of November, half of the 5,000 citizens who were in the country at the start of October "will be home."

To accomplish this, Primakov said that he had "exerted genuine pressure" on the Iraqi leadership.

In another development today, Jordan's King Hussein, who has criticized the U.S.-led military buildup in Saudi Arabia against Iraq, flew to the gulf state of Oman for two days of talks in an apparent bid to restart efforts at finding an Arab solution to the crisis.

Moscow correspondent David Remnick contributed to this article.