CAIRO, FEB. 7 -- Iraq's ambassador to Egypt said today that he believes a cease-fire in the Persian Gulf War might still lead to a settlement of his nation's dispute with Kuwait and that the occupied emirate could eventually be independent again.
Nabil Negim Takriti, a relative of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Arabic Service in Cairo that an international conference might resolve Iraq's differences with Kuwait, including the exact location of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border, possession of the disputed Rumailah oil field and Iraq's desire for a Persian Gulf port.
In the weeks leading up to Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, Iraqi officials accused Kuwait of slant-drilling into the oil field, which straddles the border between the two countries, and of refusing to lease two strategic islands, Warba and Bubiyan, off the Kuwaiti coast to accommodate Iraqi tankers.
Negim said an independent Kuwaiti state might emerge after the war and that he expected it to have "good ties" with Iraq. "The war will not resolve anything," he was quoted as saying. "The Arab people are very angry, and the conflict and instability might continue for many years."
Negim said he was assured that political differences could be settled through a special multinational conference aimed at tackling the Palestinian question and other Middle East issues. "But the allied countries have refused," he said. Negim predicted that Iraq's problems with Kuwait could be resolved in fewer than five sessions of any such conference.
Negim hinted that such a new Kuwaiti state could be linked to Iraq in the same way Lebanon is linked to Syria, which sent troops into Lebanon in 1976 to mediate a civil war. "Either way, the current differences cannot be resolved simply by defeating Iraq in a war," he said.
He accused allied forces of attempting to destroy Iraq's economy by bombing civilian targets, and said that while official Baghdad radio estimated about 600 Iraqi civilians had been killed, the exact tally numbers in "the thousands." "If the allied forces stopped their bombardment of civilians, then a cease-fire could be achieved, and the prospects of bringing a political settlement to the gulf could be improved through an international conference," he said.