WASHINGTON — President Bush's effort to send a videotaped message to the Iraqi people hit a snag today when the Iraqi ambassador refused to accept a copy of the message during a visit to the State Department.
But the envoy suggested that once a "better procedure" was found for delivery of the tape, it will be shown to the Iraqi people "in its entirety" during "prime time."
"We welcome the tape," Ambassador Mohammed al Mashat told reporters at the State Department after a meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger.
Mashat said that after he rejected the tape, Eagleburger told him that the message would either be delivered by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Iraqi authorities or sent by satellite.
The State Department had no immediate comment on Mashat's account of the conversation.
At the White House, Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said, "We are disappointed . . . that he declined to take personal possession of the tape for transmittal to Baghdad."
Fitzwater, in a written statement, said the State Department would transmit the tape to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad "within the next day or two" for delivery to the Iraqi government.