Iraq Compromises

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NEW YORK CITY: Iraqi representatives arrived in New York to begin negotiations with the U.N. for permission to sell as much as $2 billion worth of oil over the next six months. The U.N. has enforced an oil embargo against Iraq since the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraq now appears ready to accept the longstanding U.N. offer to partially lift the embargo, allowing limited oil sales. There are strings attached, however: the money can only be used to support Gulf War victims, buy food and medicine for Iraqi citizens, or fund U.N. monitoring operations. Iraq most strenuously objects to the UNŐs insistance that some of the profits be spent on relief for the nationŐs Kurdish minority. Saddam Hussein has refused those terms to date, saying they infringe on Iraqi sovereignty, but negotiators for his regime took a more conciliatory tone this morning, saying they intend to cooperate with the U.N. officials. Diplomats from member nations of the Security Council, including chief American delegate Madeleine Albright, have said the terms of the five-year-old resolution implementing the embargo are not negotiable. Talks could go on a week or longer. If the Iraqi oil enters the market, it could drive down gasoline prices in the United States by a few cents per gallon.