WASHINGTON — THE United States has rejected any settlement in the Gulf that leaves Iraq holding gains from the Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. Secretary of State James Baker Baker III said Oct. 16 the US position is that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein ``should not in any way be rewarded for his aggression.''
President Bush also showed no interest in reports that Saddam might be seeking a deal under which he would withdraw his forces from Kuwait, but keep two strategic islands in the Gulf plus an oil field that straddles the pre-invasion border.
Mr. Bush, denouncing what he called unprecedented acts of brutality in Kuwait, said, ``Iraqi aggression will not be allowed to stand. Saddam Hussein will be held accountable.''
The White House said that Bush would hold talks on Oct. 19 with Yevgeny Primakov, the Soviet envoy who conferred with Saddam Hussein last week in Baghdad.
Mr. Primakov, who is now on a peace mission to Western capitals, has told the Italian government that an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait is ``possible and necessary.''
Primakov told reporters in Rome Oct. 16 that Moscow was ``optimistic despite everything, otherwise we wouldn't be here.''
Italian officials said Primakov, an aide to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, told Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti that Iraq would be ready to negotiate a settlement provided the West did not set ultimatums or threaten military action.