The Security Council convened Wednesday to vote on a cease-fire resolution that would strip Baghdad of its biological and chemical weapons. France urged the council to get involved in efforts to halt Iraq's civil war.
The United States, Britain and the Soviet Union all indicated that the French proposal would not be included in the resolution, which diplomats said would be passed Wednesday.The meeting convened at about noon. Delegates from six countries - Yemen, Zaire, Zimbabwe, Cuba, India and Ivory Coast - were scheduled to speak before the vote.
The 3,700-word resolution, spelling out conditions for Iraq's capitulation, intends to render Saddam Hussein incapable of threatening his neighbors for the rest of the century.
Fighting ended Feb. 28 between Iraqi and allied armies after Saddam's forces were driven from Kuwait. But the destruction of much of the Iraqi ruler's army encouraged revolts in northern and southern Iraq.
After initial successes in which they seized dozens of major cities, Shiite Muslim-led insurgents in the south and Kurdish fighters were defeated by Saddam's better-armed forces.
A U.S. declaration of neutrality in Iraq's internal affairs spurred the victory of pro-Saddam forces as Washington spurned
rebel pleas that it down the helicopter gunships Iraq was using against the insurgents.
In Paris, President Francois Mitterrand said Wednesday the Security Council should condemn Iraq for its repressive actions against the Kurds or risk losing political and moral authority.
He said the U.N.-ordered embargo on trade with Iraq should not be lifted until the Baghdad regime halts repressive measures.
It was not immediately clear whether France was issuing a veiled threat to veto the U.N. cease-fire resolution.
If the Security Council fails to condemn Iraq for its repression of the Kurds, "the political and moral authority of the United Nations will be seriously affected," presidential spokesman Hubert Vedrine quoted Mitterrand as saying.
France's acting U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc Rochereau de la Sabliere, sought a resolution seeking peace talks betweenSaddam's government and the rebels. The resolution would also demand that Baghdad cooperate with Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar in getting humanitarian aid to Iraq's rebel areas.
Turkey's government said it told its U.N. ambassador to request an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the plight of at least 200,000 Kurdish refugees who want to enter Turkey from northern Iraq.
Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency said some 2.5 million Iraqis are trying to flee into Iran.
U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering said the French and Turkish proposals could be discussed after the vote on the cease-fire resolution.
But when the Soviet ambassador, Yuli Vorontsov, was asked if the council should intervene in Iraq's civil war, he shook his head vigorously to indicate he did not.
Iraqi Ambassador Amir Abdul al-Anbari ridiculed France and Turkey for "making noises about human rights," calling their proposals a "rather brazen intervention" into his country's internal affairs.