AS-SALIYAH (Qatar), March 21: US military press officers here have remained resolutely tight-lipped on the Iraq invasion, routinely telling reporters they have no information to give and appearing to be in no hurry to hold promised daily briefings.

A first briefing at the million dollar press centre here was to have been held on Friday by a British press official, but was cancelled, prompting suspicions it was in response to a request from US officials.

“I can’t tell you why the briefing was cancelled,” said a British spokesman, Colonel Ronnie McCourt. “I know why but I can’t tell you.”

US Air Force Colonel Ray Shepherd, director of public affairs for the US Central Command, said he could not comment extensively on the change of plans but added: “I’m not aware of any such request.”

Exasperation is mounting among the estimated 600 correspondents who had hoped that media specialists from the US military, assigned to Central Command’s forward planning facility here, would be able to explain and interpret what was happening on the battlefield.—AFP

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