ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ A joint Turkish-Iraqi pipeline closed since Iraq invaded Kuwait nearly six years ago is technically ready for use if Iraq resumes oil sales under a U.N. plan, officials said Tuesday.

Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Mohammed Rasheed said ``the pipeline is already ready for operations.''

``Once the Iraqi side starts flushing, we will open the pipeline at this end,'' said Turkish Energy Minister Sinasi Altiner.

Under the U.N. plan, Iraq would be allowed to sell $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial 180-day period. Part of the revenues would go to a U.N. fund to pay war reparations to Kuwait.

The 592-mile pipeline runs from the Kirkuk oil field through northern Iraq _ where Kurds have established a de facto state under the protection of a U.S.-led allied air force _ to an oil terminal at the Turkish town of Yumurtalik, on the Mediterranean Sea.

In Baghdad, President Saddam Hussein gave instructions Tuesday to his negotiating team for the second round of oil-for-food talks, scheduled for March 11, the official Iraqi News Agency said in a report monitored in Nicosia, Cyprus.