- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) — The White House declared Sunday that diplomatic efforts to end the Iraqi crisis have come to an end, and the United States and its allies must decide where to go from here.

"Make no mistake, diplomacy is coming to a conclusion," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, while briefing journalists aboard Air Force One.

He also said that President George W. Bush might address the nation soon, a speech that many in Washington believe would be an ultimatum to Iraq or a declaration of war against it.

He said the United States and its allies must decide "where we are and where we are going as diplomacy comes to an end." And he said he expected follow-up conversations with other world leaders, but he offered no timetable or course of action.

Also, Fleischer said the president still intends — as he said he would during his prime-time news conference — to issue a war warning to allow people to leave Iraq.

"If it happens," he said, "it would come directly from the president."

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