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Iraq's top diplomat met Tuesday with United Nations officials who are considering new penalties against Baghdad because of its defiance of U.N. orders to disarm.

Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister, made no comment as he entered the closed-door session with Diego Arria, the Venezuelan ambassador who heads the 15-member Security Council this month.Following that, Aziz was to hold closed discussions with non-aligned members of the council, arguing Iraq's case for leniency and easing U.N. trade sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

Aziz also planned to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and with Rolf Ekeus, chairman of the U.N. commission charged with eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

On Wednesday, the council plans a daylong public meeting during which diplomats will demand that Iraq comply with resolutions on disarmament and on humanitarian treatment of Kurds and others. It will also hear Aziz's responses.

The United States, Britain and other nations say Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is not cooperating with U.N. inspectors trying to identify and destroy Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.