January 23, 1987

The current Iranian assault on Iraqi forces near Basra is a reminder of the terrible suffering and loss which the Iran-Iraq war has brought to the peoples of the Gulf region. The continuation of this bloody struggle remains a subject of deep concern to the United States and to the entire world. It is a war that threatens not only American strategic interests but also the stability and security of our friends in the region.

As I have emphasized many times, we are determined to help bring the war to the promptest possible negotiated end, without victor or vanquished, leaving intact the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Iran and Iraq. We cannot but condemn Iranian seizure and occupation of Iraqi territory, and we again call upon the Government of Iran to join the Government of Iraq in seeking a rapid, negotiated solution to the conflict.

We share the concern of our friends in the Gulf region that the war could spill over and threaten their security. We would regard any such expansion of the war as a major threat to our interests as well as to those of our friends in the region. We remain determined to ensure the free flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. We also remain strongly committed to supporting the individual and collective self-defense of our friends in the Gulf, with whom we have deep and longstanding ties.