Bush, Iraqi PM al-Maliki meet in Jordan
Updated: 2006-11-30 14:26
AMMAN, Jordan - President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on
Thursday opened talks originally set for the day before but canceled following
disclosure of US doubts about the Iraqi leader's capabilities and a Baghdad
protest of his attendance.
Instead of talks over two days,
the stunning turn of events found Bush and al-Maliki meeting for a working
breakfast that was to be followed by a longer session and a news conference. The
Iraqi prime minister came to Bush's hotel.
US President George W. Bush, right,
shakes hands with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, left, during
their meeting, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006, in Amman, Jordan. [AP]
cancellation of Wednesday's opening session was an almost unheard-of development
in the high-level diplomatic circles of a US president, a king and a prime
minister. Confusion - and conflicting explanations - ensued .
Bush had been scheduled to participate in a three-way session with al-Maliki
and Jordan's King Abdullah II, rearranging his overseas itinerary to be in Amman
for both days for talks aimed at reducing the spiral of violence in Iraq.
The last-minute scrub of those talks was not announced until Bush was inside
Raghadan Palace and had posed for photographs alone with the king.
White House counselor Dan Bartlett denied that the delay was a snub by
al-Maliki directed at Bush or was related to the leak of a memo written by White
House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley questioning the prime minister's
capacity for controlling violence in Iraq.
"Absolutely not," Bartlett said." He said the king and the prime minister had
met before Bush arrived from a NATO summit in Latvia. "That negated the purpose
to meet tonight together in a trilateral setting."
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