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WAR IN THE GULF US and allied forces broke through Iraqi defenses across a broad front Sunday and an armored thrust advanced 20 miles into Iraq, Saudi Col. Ahmed al-Robayan, spokesman for the Arab forces in the US-led alliance, said. American, French, British, Saudi, Egyptian, and Kuwaiti troops smashed through frontline divisions and dashed across flat desert terrain toward Iraq's Euphrates River. The Kuwaiti government-in-exile said US paratroopers had landed in Kuwait City and that a Kuwaiti brigade had fought its way to the central town of Jahrah and retaken the strategic island of Failaka. UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION US Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh agreed Saturday they had worked hard to convince Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait before the allies resorted to an invasion, a US spokesman said. Baker placed a telephone call to Bessmertnykh before he returned with President Bush from Camp David, Md., to the White House Saturday night. Baker also said the US had found the Soviets very helpful during discussions on the Gulf war that took place Saturday at the UN. The UN Security Council, overtaken by the start of the ground war against Iraq, decided late Saturday there was nothing further it could do for the time being. Brief late-night consultations, held several hours after a formal meeting behind closed doors, were adjourned without immediately setting a date for another session. In Moscow also on Saturday, President Mikhail Gorbachev's spokesman, Vitaly N. Ignatenko, said Iraq had ``lost the chance'' to take advantage of Moscow's mediation efforts. Another Soviet spokesman rejected further diplomatic contacts with Iraq.... The prevailing view in Washington was that the ground offensive against Iraq brings brinkmanship diplomacy to a grinding halt. Analysts say it would be a mistake for the US to encourage new peace feelers until Saddam Hussein is soundly routed. EUROPE A little-known miners' leader and engineer, Marian Krzaklewski, was elected Feb. 23 in Gdansk to replace Lech Walesa as chairman of Poland's Solidarity trade union. In Warsaw, the Polish Parliament Feb. 23 ruled invalid all verdicts passed by the country's post-World War II Stalinist courts against anti-communist activists.... Opposition sources in Tirana reported fresh unrest over the weekend in the southern Albanian town of Fieri, where pro-government peasants tried to reerect a statue of Enver Hoxha and clashed with crowds of local citizens.... German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats chose Lothar de Maiziere to head their policymaking committee Feb. 23, one day after an investigation failed again to prove the former East German leader spied for the communist secret police.... Rival Yugoslav political leaders yielded to pressure late last week to break up their multiethnic federation, agreeing to consider plans for a process by which republics could secede. -PATHNAME- /usr/local/etc/httpd/plweb/DBGROUPS/paper/database/tape/91/mar/week10/curr25.

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