JORDAN's King Hussein, renewing appeals for an immediate cease-fire in the Gulf War, accused the United States-led coalition Wednesday of killing women and children and trying to devastate Iraq's infrastructure. The monarch, one of the few Arab leaders who remained close to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after his Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, has tried to remain neutral, condemning both the invasion and the deployment of foreign troops.
He said Jordan had been punished for its antiwar stand, saying there were ``now attempts to deprive us of our basic needs, even oil.''
``What shame is going to follow those who are accepting the bloodshed of Iraq's elderly, children, men, and women in the flames of this unjust war,'' the king said in his first address to the nation since the war began Jan. 17.
President Bush Wednesday rejected Jordan's call for a cease-fire in the Gulf War and said King Hussein was making a mistake by aligning his country more closely with Iraq.
Bush said he would try to ``understand the pressures that King Hussein is under, and we will obviously try to keep open lines of communications.''
Implicitly criticizing Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two key Arab countries in the anti-Iraqi alliance, King Hussein said the conflict was aimed at changing the balance of power in the postwar Arab world.
King Hussein said Israel would be the main beneficiary of the new postwar era in the region and would set limits in solving the Palestinian problem.
``The true aim behind this devastating war, as its size stands today and as statements made by its parties affirm and as the course of events have shown, is to devastate Iraq,'' the king said.