U.S. refrains from discussing terms with Iraq

November 28, 1993|By New York Times News Service

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States has refused to discuss its terms for lifting the oil embargo against Iraq directly with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz during his current visit to New York City, although representatives of the other 14 Security Council members have met informally with him, a senior administration official said yesterday.

The official said there was no reason for the United States to meet with Mr. Aziz because he "already knows exactly where we stand." The official added that the United States would not consider lifting the ban on Iraqi oil sales until "we have a proven track record" of Iraqi compliance with the long-term monitoring of its military industries and Baghdad has complied with the Security Council's other disarmament demands.

Following Iraq's decision Friday to accept this long-term industrial monitoring, Mr. Aziz and Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, the head of the special commission, plan to draft a public statement setting out what Iraq must still do to be in full compliance.

A big difficulty facing the special commission is that Iraq says it has burned many of its records, including accounts of research into chemical and biological weapons.

While inspectors have found some records bearing on Iraq's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the Iraqi government also claims that it has destroyed most of the blueprints for the nuclear bomb it hoped to manufacture.

Diplomats say that the United States believes the combination of a tight economic embargo and virtual political isolation is finally forcing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein into full compliance with the Security Council's disarmament plan for Iraq and that the United States doesn't want to do anything that might appear to soften that pressure.

But officials also point out that the Clinton administration wants to avoid any gesture that North Korea might interpret as a weakening of its resolve to halt the spread of nuclear weapons at a time when it is pressing that country to end its covert nuclear program.

Most other Security Council members have told Mr. Aziz they will be guided by the commission overseeing Iraq's disarmament.

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