The United Nations Security Council on Thursday postponed its announcement formally declaring an end to the Persian Gulf war.

Council President Paul Noterdaeme of Belgium had been expected to deliver the official announcement to the Iraqi representative, Amir Abdul al-Ambari, at 8 a.m. with the message, "the ceasefire is now effective."But there was no announcement, and a U.N. spokeswoman said the Security Council will meet late Thursday afternoon "to discuss the text of the letter." The letter is in response to Iraq's formal acceptance last week of the cease-fire terms.

Diplomats said Thursday morning the Security Council was making a minor change in the wording of the truce document.

Interest in a U.N.-backed resolution calling for a safe haven for Kurds and Shiite Muslim rebels in northern Iraq seemed to be waning although there was still support from the European Economic Community, which strongly backed the idea earlier this week.

The proposal was made by British Prime Minister John Major and unanimously endorsed at a meeting of the European Community this week.

The U.S. warning to Iraq to refrain from military force in refugee areas is seen as setting up a de facto safe area and is apparently as far as Washington is prepared to go.

In the meantime, the massive aid to Iraqi refugees went on.

A State Department official said 16 U.S., British and French military flights airlifted 58.9 tons of equipment to the area along the Iraq-Turkey border and 18 more flights were scheduled.

In addition, he said $254 million in cash has been pledged by allied countries for relief, and 30 medium- and heavy-lift helicopters have been sent to Turkey to transport additional materials - including several hundred thousand blankets, several thousand tents and sleeping bags, and food to feed 300,000 for 30 days.