Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bush-Maliki Talks Are Postponed

Oh this is rich. Maliki blows off the leader of the free world. My oh my how Bush's influence and reputation have shriveled up entirely.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq and King Abdullah II of Jordan cancelled a meeting with President Bush at the last minute today, against the backdrop of a radical Shiite cleric’s boycott of the Maliki government and the disclosure of a classified White House memo that was highly critical of Mr. Maliki.

In Amman, there were signs that President Bush would be greeted with a decidedly blunt message.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki are still scheduled to have breakfast together here Thursday morning, and to hold a much-anticipated joint press conference afterward.

But after meeting earlier today, Mr. Maliki and King Abdullah decided that a joint session planned for this evening with Mr. Bush was unnecessary, according to a senior White House official.

“The Jordanians and the Iraqis jointly decided they did not feel it was the best use of time” and notified Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States ambassador to Iraq, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Mr. Khalilzad then called Air Force One to tell Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who were flying to Amman from Riga, Latvia.

Mr. Bush’s counselor, Dan Bartlett, told reporters that there turned out to be no need for the planned three-way session, since Mr. Maliki and King Abdullah had already met earlier in the day and Mr. Bush and King Abdullah were planning dine together privately later in the evening.

Mr. Bartlett said the cancellation had nothing to do with disclosure of the classified memo, reported in today’s issue of The New York Times. “No one should read too much into this, except for the fact that they had a good meeting,” Mr. Bartlett said, referring to Mr. Maliki and the king.

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