U.S., British, Spanish summit to discuss Iraq standoff
President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar will look for a way to win U.N. backing for using force to disarm Iraq when they confer Sunday at a hurriedly arranged meeting on an Azores island in the mid-Atlantic.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer described the talks as "an effort to pursue every last bit of diplomacy" in the face of fading hopes for approval of a U.N. war resolution. Bush will depart for the Azores Sunday morning. It will be a one-day trip, said Fleischer, who said U.S. officials still hope to pass a resolution demanding that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein be disarmed.
"We are still pursuing the vote next week," the spokesman said.
As U.N. diplomats predicted failure for the U.S. resolution before the Security Council, the president gave aides the go-ahead for the U.S.-Britain-Spain summit.
Blair quickly agreed to the meeting, U.S. officials said, and Aznar signed on Friday morning.
The Azores Islands are a traditional mid-Atlantic refueling stop about 1,448 kilometers west of Portugal. Portugal is among the countries that have offered logistical support in any war in Iraq, granting the U.S. permission to use Lajes Field air base in the island chain. (Albawaba.com)