on direct talks with Iran before a ceasefire. Iran wants a truce first.
Perez de Cuellar said a U.N. military team of experts has left the region and the head of the team will arrive in New York tomorrow with its report on arrangements for a cease-fire.
"I will study his report. I will be in touch with members of the [Security] Council and then I will decide on a D-Day," the U.N. chief said.
He said he could not predict when he would make the announcement or if it will be this week. He said he would study the report. Thursday and might also have to consult with Iranian and Iraqi envoys.
The direct talks issue has been an obstacle in the talks, but Perez de Cuellar said, "The problem is not the concept of direct talks. The problem is the timing, when the direct talks will take place and I am working on it."
He said he hoped for "the shortest possible period" between the announcement of a D-Day and the beginning of a cease-fire.
In response to questions, the U.N. chief said that if he or the council declared a cease-fire "and one side does not respect it..that is for the council to decide."
The secretary-general and Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati, met for three hours yesterday in their sixth recent meeting.
Velayati later told reporters all major issues have been covered in their meetings "and there is no substantial point [of disagreement] between us and the secretary-general."
"Iran is immediately ready to implement [a U.N. peace] resolution by a cease-fire," Iran's ambassador, Mohammed Ja'afar Mahallati, told reporters after the meeting.
Velayati said the Security Council is obliged to punish Iraq after reading a U.N. experts' report which concludes that Iraq made frequent and large-scale use of outlawed chemical weapons in the war.
He added that even after the report of the U.N. team which visited Iran and Iraq in July. "Iraq is still using the chemical weapons."
The detailed report mentioned nine Iraqi soldiers poisoned in a battle zone, allegedly in a mustard gas attack by Iran.
The report was expected to increase pressure on Iraq to accept a cease-fire. Other U.N. reports have said Iraq used chemical weapons, which are outlawed under the 1925 Geneva Convention, and the Security Council recently condemned use of the illegal weapons in the war.
Sadoun Hamadi, Iraqi minister of state for foreign affairs, earlier yesterday repeated his country's insistence on direct talks before a truce during an appearance on state television in Baghdad.
"A cease-fire is not a sound beginning to end the war," Hamadi said. "The correct and the short-cut beginning for peace passes through direct negotiation."