U.S. President George W. Bush has just finished his opening remarks in a prime time (8pm EST) press conference in the White House announced with some fanfare this morning and broadcast live over the Internet and most U.S. TV networks.
During the day there has been considerable speculation that the President was about to announce a 72 hour deadline for Iraq to either disarm, or be disarmed by force, i.e. that he was about to signal the endgame to the leadup to war.
However ,speaking in an extremely calm tone, the President appeared to have nothing new to say on the crisis.
Mr Bush repeated the oft-repeated mantra that Iraq had been given its last chance to disarm, but had failed to do so.
He was asked immediately after his statement whether he was planning to set a 72 hour deadline as speculated about earlier by several news organisations.
He replied that the diplomatic process was continuing. He said the diplomatic process was in its final stages. He added that he was continuing to discuss these matters with his fellow leaders, he said.
The President's failure to say anything new seems likely to lead to speculation in coming hours that The President has had a last minute change of heart about going to war next week.