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President Barack Obama will demand that BP create a special account with "substantial" reserves to pay Gulf oil claims and is readying aid packages for the region, his top political adviser said Sunday.
Obama, set to visit the Gulf Coast on Monday and Tuesday, also plans to address the nation about the disaster after his return to Washington. He meets at the White House with BP executives, including the oil company's chairman, on Wednesday.
"This is an ongoing crisis, much like an epidemic," David Axelrod told NBC's "Meet the Press."
BP's board was to meet on Monday to discuss deferring its second-quarter dividend and putting the money into escrow until the company's liabilities from the spill are known.
"Our mission is to hold them accountable in every appropriate way," Axelrod said.
The White House wants an independent, third party to administer the escrow account and compensate those with "legitimate" claims for damages, he said. The amount of money set aside will be part of the White House discussions, but Axelrod said it should be "substantial."
In addition, the Obama administration will announce several aid packages and the president will make clear in his meeting Wednesday with BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and others about his expectation of BP's responsibility for caring for people affected by the spill.
In the meeting, Obama is set to follow the example of some Gulf states, which aim to put the squeeze on the company amid talk of the possibility that BP eventually may file for bankruptcy.
The attorney general in Florida and the state treasurer in Louisiana already have said they want BP to put billions in escrow accounts for claim payments.
This program aired on June 13, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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