The P-5 + 1 will convene in London later today to discuss future steps over Iran's nuclear program, but Secretary Rice's punctuality problems will inhibit any real progress from taking place. Rice will attend the meeting but will arrive an hour late due to mechanical problem with her military aircraft. The meeting will start without Rice and as a result, the foreign ministers are not expected to make a decision today on imposing sanctions against Tehran.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormick said the officials are likely to hold a conference call on Monday or Tuesday to discuss the issue further. Saying he could not predict what decision would ultimately be made, McCormack said: "At the earliest it wouldn't be until then."
Unfortunately the pace of diplomacy doesn't show any sign of quickening. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov has called for more diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said negotiations with Iran would still be possible, even when the Security Council discusses possible sanctions. Earlier, Solana said "endless hours" of talks with Iranian officials have made little progress. Interestingly, some have suggested that the mechanical failures of Rice's aircraft are a farce, and that because of Russian objections to sanctions, the U.S. wanted to avoid a potentially embarrassing result from the London meeting.