Maliki Too Busy to Meet With Gates

He promises to squeeze him in tomorrow morning
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2009 5:46 PM CST
Maliki Too Busy to Meet With Gates
In a photo provided by the Dept. of Defense, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates talks with personal security detail members while waiting for a flight in Kabul.   (AP Photo/Dept. of Defense, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison)

Robert Gates apparently doesn't rank. When the defense chief flew into Iraq today for a surprise visit with Nouri al-Maliki, he learned the prime minister was simply too busy to see him. The Pentagon is playing down all hints of a snub, explaining that Maliki had to spend hours in meetings with members of parliament incensed about Tuesday's bombings. Maliki agreed late today to squeeze Gates in tomorrow morning, reports the New York Times.

“He certainly doesn’t consider it a snub,” said the Pentagon press secretary. "He completely understands and respects that the prime minister of this country has to be accountable to the legislature.” (Read more Robert Gates stories.)

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