Obama admin might call Jones

2010-09-09 21:38

Washington - The US administration is weighing a possible direct appeal to a Florida pastor to ask him to call off plans to burn hundreds of Qu'rans, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

"This is something we are actively discussing within the administration," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told a news conference.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates was taking part in deliberations on "taking this unusual measure of calling this pastor and trying to convince him that it is not the right thing to proceed with", Morrell said.

A decision had yet to be taken, but he said the planned torching of Qu'rans by the small church in Florida posed a potential threat to US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and others stationed in Islamic countries.

Morrell added that it was "impossible to miss the message" from US President Barack Obama and other top figures who had publicly warned of the dangers of going ahead with the event.

Terry Jones, head of the Dove World Outreach Centre, said earlier he would likely call off the event on Saturday's anniversary of the September 11 attacks if asked to by the Obama administration.

If he were contacted, "that would cause us definitely to think it over", Jones told USA Today.