UNITED NATIONS, OCT. 27 -- The Soviet Union today postponed at the last minute a Security Council vote on a new resolution against Iraq, apparently in the hope that the delay might help the latest peacemaking mission to Baghdad by its special envoy, Yevgeny Primakov.

A senior U.S. official said Moscow's move came as diplomats were ready to vote on a new U.N. resolution aimed at tightening international pressure on Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. The new resolution asks nations to document financial losses and human rights violations resulting from the Iraqi invasion, a step toward holding Iraq accountable for these damages. The resolution also would call on Iraq to allow the resupply of besieged embassies in Kuwait.

Soviet Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov contacted representatives of the other four permanent members of the Security Council late today and requested that they delay the vote until Monday. Vorontsov said he had been advised to seek the postponement by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, who are visiting Madrid, the U.S. official said.

According to the U.S. official's account of Vorontsov's message, Gorbachev decided to ask for the delay after receiving a message from Primakov in Baghdad saying that his discussions with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might go better if they were not held under the gun of another U.N. sanctions resolution.

The United States agreed to put the vote off until Monday as a gesture to show its willingness to allow Soviet diplomats to seek a peaceful Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.

Following the announcement, the council went into consultations, something it has been doing formally and informally for the past three days as it considers the latest draft resolution condemning Iraq. The council heard from representatives of Kuwait and the Soviet Union, both of whom had been slated to speak before the vote.

The resolution lays the groundwork for possible future financial restitution as well as future legal action for "grave breaches of human rights" as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to council president and British Ambassador Sir David Hannay. However, the resolution contains no punitive measures.

The council reached agreement on a draft resolution, which was to be voted on during a meeting called for 3 p.m.

Diplomats predicted that a large majority would support the draft, adding that the vote was important in large part as a further demonstration of the international coalition of countries united against Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.

U.S. officials have said the resolution also is meant to put Iraq on notice that the United Nations regards atrocities committed in Kuwait as punishable war crimes. One aim is to avoid the charge against earlier tribunals -- such as the post-World War II Nuremberg trials -- that they lacked validity because they were arranged after the crimes were committed. The other aim is to alert Iraqi commanders that they could face war crimes charges.

The proposed resolution also asks Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to use his "good offices" for the safety of foreigners in Iraq and Kuwait. In particular, it requests "the provision of food, water and basic services to Kuwaiti nationals and to the diplomatic and consular missions in Kuwait and the evacuation of third-state nationals," a measure strongly advocated by Washington.

The current draft also warns Iraq of "further measures under the {U.N.} charter." While such measures are not spelled out, diplomats said these could include breaking diplomatic relations or cutting off telecommunications services with Iraq. However, the real intent of the phrase is to leave the impression that military options are being considered, diplomats said.