AMMAN, Jordan – US President George W. Bush’s high-stakes summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki was put off Wednesday after public disclosure of US doubts about his capacity to control sectarian warfare.
The White House said the two leaders would meet on Thursday.
The postponement was announced shortly after Bush arrived here for talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Al Maliki. Bush’s meeting with the king was to proceed on schedule.
White House counsellor Dan Bartlett denied that the move was a snub by Al Maliki or was related to the leak of a White House memo 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. “It negated the purpose for a meeting of the three of them,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said that Wednesday night’s three-way meeting had always been planned as “more of a social meeting” and that Bush and Maliki on Thursday would have a “robust” meeting on their own.
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