INTRODUCTION: Definite replies are soon expected from Iran and Iraq on proposals for releasing ships that the Gulf war has trapped in the Shatt Al-Arab waterway.
SCU INTERIOR UN special envoy, Olaf Palme listening to questions and answering
SV (MUTE) Journalists seated at news conference
SCU Mr. Palme speaking as newsmen listen (3 shots)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
REPORTER: (SEQ. 1) "Our nation says that making ceasefire with the...the situation is that the Iraq forces is in our land ... is on the interest of the United States, and now that you have seen the damaged cities, and you know that the iraq army forces are in our land. How do you see the making ceasefire?"
PALME: "I can't speak for the government of Iran it has to be expressing its own views on ceasefire. I have taken note of very much, for instance, of what the government of Iran has said about withdrawal and about other issues. But I can't...do you see, the whole basis for my job is not to make value judgments because I had to speak to both parties, and to be on speaking terms with both parties, and that, publicly, I don't make value judgments on what is good or band. I think a lot but I won't say it to anybody."
REPORTER: "Do you think there is still a long way to peaceful settlement to the conflict?"
SEQ. 3: PALME: "I hope not. I mean, logically, I think when working on it, I see that logically there should be a rapid peace, but there are so many factors playing that you never know. When they say that we refuse to negotiate as long as there is one single Iraqi soldier on our land, that's the one principle they keep to, and on that, the Supreme Defence Council had a meeting, had a long discussion with Iranian President Bani-Sadr both on Friday, and on Saturday. They had a meeting on Friday, and they reiterated this principle very strongly. The Iraqis say, on their side, they are prepared for ceasefire any time, and negotiations any time, but they won't withdraw until they get their legitimate demands fulfilled, and that has to do with land borders, non-intervention, and Shatt-al-Arab."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Definite replies are soon expected from Iran and Iraq on proposals for releasing ships that the Gulf war has trapped in the Shatt Al-Arab waterway. This was revealed on Monday (23 February) after United Nations envoy Olaf Palme reported to Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim on his third round of talks in Teheran and Baghdad since last November. Mr. Palme told a news conference he'd submitted detailed proposals for the release of the vessels. More than 70 ships are thought to be in the waterway. An Iranian reporter asked Mr. Palme about the prospects of a ceasefire between the two countries: