JIDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA, NOV. 21 -- President Bush, accusing Iraq of brutality "so cruel it turns your stomach," today announced United Nations hearings next week on the treatment of occupied Kuwait and called for new, stronger U.N. action against President Saddam Hussein by the end of the month.

Bush's statement indicated that the U.S. strategy is to use next week's hearings in New York to dramatize what he called Iraq's "atrocities and acts of destruction" in Kuwait, and to build international and domestic support for a new U.N. resolution authorizing military action to drive the Iraqis out of the emirate. The United States holds the presidency of the Security Council until the end of this month.

A senior U.S. official said discussions continue on whether the resolution will contain a deadline before force will be used, on how such a decision will be made and by whom. "We're doing an awful lot of diplomatic work behind the scenes. Other countries are doing diplomatic work behind the scenes," Bush said, adding that he would offer no further details.

The president again dismissed as wrong any suggestions that he and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev disagree on the next steps in the United Nations and on overall policy aimed at ending the Persian Gulf crisis. "I can only tell you we are together with the Soviet Union," he said, adding, "And if we have differences . . . they would be extraordinarily minor."

Bush's focus on Kuwait came as the White House announced that the president will meet with Syrian President Hafez Assad Friday in Geneva to discuss the gulf crisis.

Syria, a hard-line Arab state accused by the State Department of sponsoring terrorism and suppressing human rights {Details, Page A55}, has pledged to send 15,000 troops to the multinational force arrayed against Iraq. Bush would be the first president to meet with a Syrian leader since 1977.

Bush called Syria a "coalition partner" and defended the session, which the White House said was recommended by other Arab leaders. "I have no problem sitting down with him for this common objective," he said here.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, Western officials said Saddam has agreed to release 157 more Europeans held hostage in an attempt to deter a possible attack.

Bush is making his first visit to Saudi Arabia since the Aug. 2 invasion of bordering Kuwait by Iraq. On Thursday, Bush intends to make Thanksgiving Day visits with some of the 240,000 American troops deployed here initially to defend this kingdom against Iraqi troops massed on its border.

Today, Bush tried to focus public attention on the treatment of Kuwaitis under Saddam's occupation and, following a meeting with Saudi King Fahd, ruled out "partial solutions" to the crisis.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III, briefing reporters on Bush's meeting with Fahd, said, "We are beginning to see ideas and suggestions that would set a very bad example. The Saudis share that view."

Baker cited the turning over of disputed Kuwaiti border areas, including the strategic islands of Bubiyan and Warba and the Rumaila oilfield, to Iraq as part of the "siren song of partial solutions" the two countries reject.

Earlier, Bush met with the Kuwaiti emir, Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah, at the Al-Hamra Guest Palace, and said afterward that the emir had told him "of the atrocities and acts of destruction" being committed against Kuwaitis by Saddam's forces.

"It is a moving and touching and horrible story," Bush said. "He showed me some pictures that are so cruel and so brutal . . . it just turns your stomach."

Announcing the U.N. hearings on Kuwait, Bush said, "Justice demands that the world listen and understand exactly the kind of brutality Saddam Hussein has wrought upon innocent kids and families . . . and what he's doing to hostages in Kuwait today is appalling."

Huge pictures of tortured and mutilated people, identified in captions as citizens of Kuwait, were displayed in the press areas, and reporters were given packets of similar photographs as well as blow-ups of bombed-out and burned buildings, cars and other destruction.

The emir, with Bush at his side, spoke of the suffering of the people of Kuwait and "the darkness that has befallen our homeland, making them vulnerable to unprecedented inhuman treatment."

Bush refused to discuss the content of any new U.N. resolution but said, "I feel that we should take action {on the resolution} before Nov. 30." The United States, under the revolving chairmanship rules of the United Nations, chairs the U.N. Security Council until Dec. 1, when Yemen takes over. Yemen has not been entirely supportive of all the actions taken against Iraq by the United Nations and the Arab League.

Asked whether the United States will have assembled the votes it needs, Baker said, "I believe we are making progress," but "I am not prepared to tell you here tonight that there is total agreement on the part of countries in the {Security} Council." He added, "This is the 22nd of November, and November has 30 days."

Intense negotiation over the wording of the resolution continued today, U.S. officials said. French President Francois Mitterrand, at a news conference in Paris ending the 34-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, announced French support for such a resolution but said the actual implementation "cannot be automatic."

Mitterrand said he told Bush at dinner Sunday that France "is willing to take part in discussions to draw up a text authorizing eventual recourse to force." He said France "will only be committed" to such action under a resolution, not solely under an article of the U.N. Charter.

The United States and other nations have stated that they believe the use of military action to enforce the Security Council's prior resolutions against Iraq, including one authorizing resupply of embassies in Kuwait that Iraq has ordered closed, was already legally authorized by Article 51 of the Charter.

Gorbachev, preparing to leave Paris after attending the same conference, also called for immediate U.N. action on a new resolution.

The five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China -- have been engaged in intensive talks, many of them in Paris at the conference, on the wording of such a resolution. Bush said the subject "was in every corridor, in every bilateral discussion, on everybody's mind" there.

Bush, both here and in Paris, brought up the condition of diplomats in Kuwait's U.S. Embassy, where water and power have been cut off by the Iraqis in an attempt to force its closure. The president said the diplomats are "in a beleaguered state" in an embassy "that's supposed to be sacrosanct." The president said they can survive there at least into December.

Both Bush and Baker tried to put aside the sensitive issue of the abruptly announced meeting with the Syrians. Baker visited Syria last month as part of his multinational trip to begin laying the groundwork for new sanctions and possible military action against Iraq.

Baker said the meeting with Assad "is not a question of reward" for his support for the international effort but a question of talking about their "common purpose" in stopping Saddam.

The secretary acknowledged that "problems are still there. We've been working with them" and insisted, "I believe we are making progress."

Earlier today, Bush canceled a meeting with Jordan's King Hussein in Paris because an anti-American speech by the monarch made the president angry. A U.S. official said that although the speech, delivered Saturday, was only mildly critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, "Bush got offended."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, in the first known visit of a senior Iraqi official to a gulf country since the invasion of Kuwait, made an unannounced trip to Oman today, Arab sources told correspondent Caryle Murphy in Jiddah. The visit was at Iraq's request, but it is not known with whom Aziz met or what was discussed, they said.

Oman, although supportive of Saudi Arabia in the current crisis, has been more assertive than other gulf states in pushing for a peaceful resolution. Sultan Qabus, the Omani leader who currently chairs the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, has close ties with King Fahd.

"We don't expect anything to come out of it," said a Saudi source, referring to Aziz's visit. "It's another attempt by the Iraqis to stall and perpetuate illusions, while their crimes continue on the ground."