WASHINGTON -- The United States wants to attach stringent conditions to a proposed Iraqi oil sale to make sure its proceeds go for humanitarian purposes, administration officials said yesterday, and will also demand fuller compliance with the gulf war cease-fire resolution.
The United Nations sanctions committee was to meet today to consider Iraq's request to sell nearly $1 billion worth of oil to purchase food and other humanitarian supplies.
President Bush, speaking to farm editors yesterday, said Iraq was "now trying to appeal to get some relief on the oil. There's . . . not going to be any relief as far as the United States goes until they move forward on a lot of fronts."
Administration officials are skeptical of Iraqi claims that the money is urgently needed, but they acknowledge a building sentiment within the Security Council for humanitarian relief for Iraq's population, which is likely to face an ever-growing food shortage. Mr. Bush said, "We are not going to let people starve."
Besides making certain the oil-sales proceeds go for humanitarian needs, the United States will demand that a proportion be earmarked for reparations to Kuwait.
The United States also is expected to demand a fuller accounting by Iraq of its nuclear and biological weapons programs. In a recent report to the United Nations, Iraq acknowledged possessing no nuclear materials outside of that already under international safeguards and said it had no biological weapons.
Both claims are false, U.S. officials believe.
Meanwhile yesterday, U.S. officials were exploring with other Security Council members a European Community proposal for a U.N. police force to protect refugee camps now being erected in northern Iraq.
The United States is anxious to persuade the more than 2 million predominantly Kurdish refugees that they will be safe inside the camps once coalition forces withdraw, but it also believes it cannot get the votes in the Security Council to establish a peacekeeping force inside Iraq.
The police force might offer a way to ensure the Kurds' safety without requiring a new resolution, one official said. The task now is to persuade U.N. officials and other members of the Security Council that such a force would be covered under an existing resolution.
Another official said, however, that any armed personnel under U.N. auspices would fall under the category of a peacekeeping force and would require another Security Council resolution.