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Arab states exhort Saddam to compromise

Wednesday February 11 1:11 PM EST


While a panoply of world leaders negotiates a possible military action against his country, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is under increasing pressure from third party stakeholders to renounce his bottom line and allow open and unlimited U.N. inspections of all his weapons sites.

Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz told CNN today that Saddam would be willing to open eight sites to unlimited inspections for up to 60 days.

But, the Gulf Cooperation Council, an affiliation of Gulf Arab states, issued a statement following an emergency meeting in Kuwait City demanding Iraq ``lift all obstacles'' to U.N. inspections.

French radio reports today the Council warned Baghdad would be blamed in the event of military action by the United States and Britain if it does not ``respond positively to all initiatives aimed at defusing the crisis with the United Nations over disarmament.''

GCC membership includes Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, which has opposed the use of it's territory to launch U.S. air strikes against Iraq.

Britain, meanwhile, rejected the latest Iraqi offer, stating all sites should be open for an unlimited time, not just one or two months.

Aziz, when asked by CNN whether Iraq would be prepared to concede more than what is on the table now, responded: ``More? I don't know. It's a very general word.''

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