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US fails to get Arab support for bombing

No Arab Support for Cohen on Iraq

.c The Associated Press


AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Defense Secretary William Cohen ended his tour of
Arab nations today with little sign of support for military strikes
against Iraq to force Baghdad to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.

Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan indicated that his country was not keen on a
military strike.

It ``is imperative to find a way out of the current crisis and to find the
appropriate conditions to resume cooperation between the United Nations
and Iraq,'' Hassan said. ``It is important to avert in the region another
confrontation and to settle the crisis diplomatically.''

Officials in Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates made similar

After concluding his Arab tour, Cohen went on to Ankara, Turkey, where he
met with Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Sezgin.

``We would ask the help of all our friends if any military action should
be required,'' Cohen said after the meeting. ``What action that might
constitute will be discussed in the future.''

Cohen was not expected to get any firm backing from Turkey, which suffered
financially and politically from the division of Iraq after the Gulf War.
During the war, Turkey was a staunch ally of the U.S.-led coalition.

Turkish officials did not comment on Ankara's position on eventual
strikes, but Cohen said Turkey shared the view that Iraqi leader Saddam
Hussein must comply with U.N. resolutions.

Cohen also visited Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt. No statements were
made by officials in those countries, but newspaper editorials were
sympathetic to Iraq's plight under U.N. sanctions. Cohen was to travel
later today to Paris.

The sanctions, imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, sparking the
Persian Gulf War, cannot be lifted until weapons inspectors certify that
Iraq has gotten rid of all weapons of mass destruction.

In a statement Thursday, Cohen's spokesman, Kenneth Bacon, said the
meetings were ``successful'' and that the secretary ``is confident that
the United States will have the support it needs to take appropriate
action to uphold the United Nations Security Council resolutions.''

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook also was planning a tour of the Gulf
states in the next two weeks to lobby for international condemnation of
Iraq's decision to stop cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors, the
Foreign Office said today.

The Iraqi government, meanwhile, remained defiant, even after a resolution
of condemnation Thursday by the Security Council. Iraq demands a timetable
for the lifting of U.N. economic sanctions before cooperation can resume.

During a standoff between Iraq and the United Nations in February, Kuwait
was the only Arab state that opened its air bases to U.S. and British

The United States has 24,000 troops, an aircraft carrier and about 170
warplanes and helicopters in the Gulf region, according to the Pentagon.

AP-NY-11-06-98 1145EST

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