Perfect spot for three isolated leaders

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The Independent Online

The last-chance talks to avoid a war against Iraq will be held tomorrow in the remote islands of the Azores, six hours' flying time from Washington, two and a half hours from Lisbon and very far indeed from any madding crowds of anti-war protesters.

The last-chance talks to avoid a war against Iraq will be held tomorrow in the remote islands of the Azores, six hours' flying time from Washington, two and a half hours from Lisbon and very far indeed from any madding crowds of anti-war protesters.

The Portuguese archipelago of nine islands, seen by some as the legendary Atlantis, has a long history as a staging post – first for maritime explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries, and more recently for transatlantic flights, before refuelling stops became unnecessary.

The first and, until now, only time the Azores hosted a summit was in 1971, when the US President, Richard Nixon, the French President, Georges Pompidou, and the Portuguese Prime Minister, Marcelo Caetano, met to talk about international monetary problems. The subsequent fates of two of the three participantsis not a happy augury for tomorrow's meeting.

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