Iraq told its people Wednesday to stockpile oil during the winter to avoid shortages if war breaks out.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry announced it will provide the market with fuel oil, kerosene, cooking gas, gasoline and diesel so that purchases can be made."We hope that all citizens will buy their needs so they may overcome any shortages that might result from an aggression on our oil installations," said the announcement, published in the government's Al-Jumhuriya newspaper.
The refineries are considered prime targets for air strikes by the U.S.-led multinational force if war breaks out in the gulf. The U.N. Security Council has authorized the use of force if Iraq does not pull out of Kuwait by Jan. 15.
Iraq, meanwhile, was assailed on two fronts for human rights abuses its soldiers are said to have committed after Kuwait was overrun on Aug. 2.
The London-based human rights group Amnesty International issued a report Wednesday charging that Iraqi troops have tortured and killed hundreds of Kuwaitis. Norma Johnson, Amnesty's chief spokeswoman, said in a BBC radio interview Wednesday that "about 1,000 people have been executed, many hundreds have been tortured and something like 10,000 still remain in detention in Kuwait."
The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday voted 144-1 to deplore human rights violations in Kuwait. Iraq cast the sole dissenting vote.
In other developments:
- A Danish warship Wednesday rescued six Iranian sailors off a freighter that sank after a mysterious collision with another vessel in the gulf, Denmark's public radio reported. The sailors were being treated for exposure aboard the Danish corvette Olfert Fischer. The reported incident occurred near the Hormuz Strait at the mouth of the gulf. The freighter was en route from Dubai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas when it was rammed and sunk by a larger vessel, said the radio. The other ship sailed on and disappeared in the dark.
- In Washington, President Bush said he still wants a peaceful solution to the crisis. The president said that he believed he has the support of the American people but it would erode if the United States got into a prolonged war in the gulf. "I don't want war as an option. I want peace," Bush said.