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US Diplomatic Push on Iraq to Last Weeks, Not Months - 2003-01-30

The White House says its final diplomatic push on Iraq will last weeks, not months. There will be meetings, phone calls, and the release of American evidence to the U.N. Security Council.

The White House is making clear, the window of opportunity for Iraq is small.

Spokesman Ari Fleischer says, the president is engaged in "very busy and active diplomacy," aimed at finding a peaceful resolution. But at the same time, he stresses that effort will not drag on, and will last less than a month.

Before the week is out, President Bush will hold one-on-one consultations with the prime ministers of Italy and Great Britain, as well as the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia.

Britain's Tony Blair and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi were among eight European leaders who signed a letter reiterating their support for the tough U.S. stand on Iraq. Mr. Fleischer told reporters the president appreciates their words of support.

Asked about critical comments made by former South African President Nelson Mandela, Mr. Fleischer said, President Bush appreciates his supporters abroad, and respects those leaders who don't agree with his policies. He then added, Mr. Bush understands there are going to be people who are comfortable doing nothing about a growing menace.