Tracking Number:  173542

Title:  "Allies Demand Unconditional Iraqi Pullout from Kuwait." White House press briefing. Corrected by NT-502. (910222)

Translated Title:  "L'Offensive Terrestre Depend de la Decision de l'Irak." (910222)
Date:  19910222


02/22/91 1Ne Tx ALLIES DEMAND UNCONDITIONAL IRAQI PULLOUT FROM KUWAIT (Transcript: Fitzwater briefing) (1500)

Washington -- If Iraq begins a large-scale withdrawal from Kuwait by 1700 GMT February 23, agrees to additional terms demanded by the international coalition, including completing the withdrawal within a week, and "publicly communicates" its acceptance of those terms to the United Nations, the allies will not launch a ground campaign against Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait, says White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater.

At a February 22 news briefing, Fitzwater said the Bush administration, after consulting with the government of Kuwait and other coalition partners, believes that the Soviet attempt to end the gulf war is "a serious and useful effort which is appreciated" but that "major obstacles remain" to resolving the conflict.

Following is a transcript of Fitzwater's briefing:

(begin transcript)

FITZWATER: The Soviet announcement yesterday represents a serious and useful effort which is appreciated. But major obstacles remain. The coalition for many months has sought a peaceful resolution to this crisis in keeping with the U.N. resolutions. As President Bush pointed out to President Gorbachev, the steps the Iraqis are considering would constitute a conditional withdrawal and would also prevent the full implementation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. Also there is no indication that Iraq is prepared to withdraw immediately.

Full compliance with the Security Council resolutions has been a consistent and necessary demand of the international community. The world must make sure that Iraq has, in fact, renounced its claim to Kuwait and accepted all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Indeed, only the Security Council can agree to lift sanctions against Iraq, and the world needs to be assured in concrete terms of Iraq's peaceful intentions before such action can be taken. In a situation where sanctions have been lifted, Saddam Hussein could simply revert to using his oil resources once again, not to provide for the well- being of his people, but instead to rearm.

GE 2 TXT505 So in a final effort to obtain Iraqi compliance with the will of the international community, the United States, after consulting with the government of Kuwait and her other coalition partners, declares that a ground campaign will not be initiated against Iraqi forces if, prior to noon, Saturday, February 23, New York time, Iraq publicly accepts the following terms and authoritatively communicates that acceptance to the United Nations:

First, Iraq must begin large-scale withdrawal from Kuwait by noon, New York time, Saturday, February 23. Iraq must complete military withdrawal from Kuwait in one week. Given the fact that Iraq invaded an occupied Kuwait in a matter of hours, anything longer than this from the initiation of the withdrawal would not meet Resolution 660's requirement of immediacy.

Within the first 48 hours, Iraq must remove all its forces from Kuwait City and allow for the prompt return of the legitimate government of Kuwait. It must withdraw from all prepared defenses along the Saudi-Kuwait and Saudi-Iraq borders, from Bubiyan and Warbah Islands, and from Kuwait's Rumaylah oil field within the one week specified above. Iraq must return all its forces to their positions of August 1, in accordance with Resolution 660.

In cooperation with the International Red Cross, Iraq must release all prisoners of war and third country civilians being held against their will, and return the remains of killed and deceased servicemen. This action must commence immediately with the initiation of the withdrawal and must be completed within 48 hours.

Iraq must remove all explosives or booby traps, including those on Kuwaiti oil installations, and designate Iraqi military liaison officers to work with Kuwaiti and other coalition forces on the operational details related to Iraq's withdrawal, to include the provision of all data on the location and nature of any land or sea mines.

Iraq must cease combat aircraft flights over Iraq and Kuwait, except for transport aircraft carrying troops out of Kuwait, and allow coalition aircraft exclusive control over and use of all Kuwaiti air space.

It must cease all destructive actions against Kuwaiti citizens and property and release all Kuwaiti detainees.

The United States and its coalition partners reiterate that their forces will not attack retreating Iraqi forces; and further, will exercise restraint so long as withdrawal proceeds in accordance with the above guidelines and there are no attacks on other countries.

GE 3 TXT505 Any breach of these terms will ring an instant and sharp response from coalition forces in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 678.

That's the conclusion of our prepared statement. Let me just add a couple of points. First of all, that a copy of this document was provided to Iraqi diplomats here in Washington about noon today. President Bush and Secretary Baker spoke with President Gorbachev for over an hour and 15 minutes this morning to discuss this situation.

Secretary Baker spoke with Soviet foreign ministry officials both yesterday and today. And we have consulted with all of our allies and coalition partners last night or this morning. The coalition remains strong and united.

QUESTION: What's Gorbachev's reaction to what the president said?

ANSWER: I think it's clear by the length of their conversation that they had a very good discussion of all the major points. President Gorbachev, of course, spoke of the conversations that he has been having of Tariq Aziz. President Bush is very appreciative for the efforts that he has made, and together they discussed some of the avenues that we might take to ensure that we get a good withdrawal.

Q: What's the answer to the question?

Q: Is it your expectation now that President Gorbachev will help broker this deal with the Iraqis? In other words, where does this go now?

A: This goes to Saddam Hussein. The ball is in his court. The question is what is his answer. And in this statement we very clearly point out that we expect him to give a response to the United Nations before noon tomorrow.

Q: So you do not expect President Gorbachev to be your representative on this?

A: I don't know what his plans were. We had very good and useful discussions with him.

Q: In the conversation with President Gorbachev, did he endorse or accept these conditions that you've just spelled out?

A: As I said, the discussion went back and forth on various points. They have been very helpful to the coalition from the very beginning. President Bush and President Gorbachev have had a number of communications and they have a very good understanding on this matter. The question now is, what's Saddam Hussein going to do.

GE 4 TXT505 Q: Is there any indication, any reason to believe that Saddam Hussein will accept these terms?

A: We have not heard anything from him. Certainly, the scorched-earth policy that he has initiated in Kuwait only today does not lend us much reason for optimism, but we wanted to be very clear about what the criteria would be, and very clear that he has an opportunity, as he has had from the beginning, to end this affair right now.

Q: What is the status of the air war and the U.S. prosecution of the war while we wait for this deadline?

A: The war continues according to plan.

Q: Will a ground war be underway tomorrow afternoon if these conditions are not met?

A: We've said that we are holding off on the ground war pending this opportunity, and we will wait and see what happens and then make those decisions.

Q: But it doesn't automatically mean that we will necessarily start the ground war tomorrow afternoon or right away if these are not met?

A: We obviously are not going to telegraph in advance when we're going to start ground force actions, and we want to give Saddam Hussein the opportunity to take advantage of this withdrawal offer.

Q: Are these ultimatums being made after consultation with the allies, or on behalf of the allies?

A: After consultation with the allies. We've had extensive discussion all through the night last night and this morning.

Q: What is in this, if anything, for Saddam Hussein?

A: A chance to save his country and to do the thing he should have done the day after he went in on August 2.

Q: This is a change of signals. In the past, you've talked about Saddam leaving unconditionally. You've now said -- I count seven conditions here. In the past, you would halt the fighting if a massive withdrawal is underway. Now you say if any of these -- any breach if these seven are violated that you would continue fighting.

A: This is the criteria to be used in judging unconditional withdrawal. The U.N. resolutions are very clear that Saddam Hussein must get out of Kuwait unconditionally. We want to be equally clear in saying that these are the minimum kinds of actions that he needs

GE 5 TXT505 to take to comply with those resolutions, to indeed get out of Kuwait unconditionally.

(end transcript) NNNN

File Identification:  02/22/91, TX-505; 02/22/91, AE-510; 02/22/91, AF-506; 02/22/91, AR-519; 02/22/91, EP-522; 02/22/91, EU-504; 02/22/91, NE-504; 02/22/91, AS-520; 02/22/91, NA-503; 02/22/91, NT-502
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Arabic; French; Spanish
Document Type:  TRA
Thematic Codes:  1NE
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  173542; 173649; 173559; 173569