Bush, World Leaders to Discuss Iraq at Azores Summit
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 14, 2003 President Bush will travel to the Azores islands off the coast of Portugal this weekend to meet with several world leaders on the situation in Iraq, White House officials announced.
The president will meet with the leaders of Britain, Spain and Portugal "to discuss how best to proceed to make it unequivocally clear to Saddam Hussein that there will be serious consequences if he fails to disarm," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice called the weekend summit an opportunity to discuss ways to bring the U.N. process to a close.
"It is time to come to a conclusion that says to Saddam Hussein, 'It is time for you to disarm or be disarmed. It is time for you to finally comply with Resolution 1441,'" she said.
The president and his top officials kept the phone lines humming today in their "telephone diplomacy" efforts to garner support for a further U.N. Security Council resolution on the use of force in Iraq.
During the daily White House press briefing, Fleischer said Bush had spoken earlier today with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia about a Middle East peace plan, and with the prime minister of Denmark about the situation in Iraq.
"I will tell you, everybody has been on the phones and will be on the phones this weekend," Rice said at an earlier impromptu press briefing.