BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Iraqi government on Sunday began preparing its beleaguered citizens for more hardship after formally rejecting a U.N. offer to allow the sale of $2 billion worth of oil to buy food and medicine.
State-owned radio and television interrupted programming to remind Iraqis that they shed "rivers of blood and offered the dearest sacrifices" in their fight against the United States and to declare that "you may have to do that again."
Earlier, the government said it would not accept U.N.-supervised oil exports to pay for urgent humanitarian needs, calling the proposal "nothing but a U.S. maneuver" to prolong sanctions.
The formal decision by President Saddam Hussein's Cabinet was announced after a five-hour meeting and was expected. Iraqi officials had blasted the offer Saturday, and thousands of government employees took to the streets of Baghdad, chanting anti-U.S. slogans in government-orchestrated rallies.