Rumsfeld Sets Out on Int’l War Talks

WASHINGTON?President Bush sent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a four-nation mission Tuesday that could be a prelude to military strikes against terrorists. Bush warned Afghanistan?s ruling Taliban ?there will be a consequence? if they fail to surrender Osama bin Laden and his followers.

The defense secretary was leaving Tuesday night for military talks with leaders in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and Uzbekistan, key members of Bush?s growing coalition. Uzbekistan borders Afghanistan, where terrorist suspect bin Laden is being sheltered by the Taliban government.

Building a case for war, U.S. diplomats shared confidential evidence with allies linking bin Laden?s al-Qaida network to the Sept. 11 attacks and other terrorists acts. America?s 18 NATO partners said the information was conclusive and formally declared the attacks on New York and Washington an assault against the alliance.