Cook flies to the Gulf

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The Independent Online
Robin Cook will fly out to the Gulf today for talks on Iraq in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, it was announced last night. The Foreign Secretary will brief Britain's partners in the region on attempts to achieve a diplomatic solution to the crisis over access for United Nations weapons inspectors.

Mr Cook said: "Underlying Britain's approach to the present crisis is our concern for Gulf security and our wish to ensure that Saddam Hussein never threatens it again."

The Foreign Office said Bri-tain was still working on a UN Security Council Resolution which would send "a united and strong signal to Iraq of the international community's determination to enforce its will".

Russia insisted yesterday that it had made progress in persuading Iraq to comply with UN demands and head off the prospect of United States military action. But confusion remained after Baghdad denied Russian reports that President Saddam Hussein had agreed to open eight new presidential sites to UN arms inspectors.