Robert Gates Urged Terry Jones to Call Off Koran Burning

Rev. Terry Jones at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., Monday, Aug. 30. Jones intends to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Jones has vowed to go ahead with the bonfire, even though he has been denied the required permit. AP Photo/John Raoux

CBS News confirms Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called Rev. Terry Jones Thursday afternoon, urging the pastor not to go through with a planned Koran burning. Jones announced today that he has called off the event. (Watch his announcement at left.)

CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin reports Gates told the Florida minister the event would endanger the lives of American servicemen and women.

"The Secretary expressed his grave concern that going forward would put the lives of our forces at risk, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, and urged him not to proceed with it. That was the extent of it," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

Morrell characterized it as "a very brief conversation" that occurred some time between 4 and 4:30 p.m. ET, before the press conference Jones held this afternoon.

Jones announced at the press conference that he would not burn copies of the Muslim holy book on the ninth anniversary of September 11, citing an agreement with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to move the location of the Islamic Center near ground zero.

Following Jones' press conference, Imam Feisal put out the following statement: "I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Qurans. However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam Musry. I am surprised by their announcement."

Imam Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Society of Central Florida appeared with Jones Thursday afternoon.

President Obama and General David Petraeus had earlier given public statements saying Jones should reconsider his plans.

More coverage:

Rev. Jones Stands Down; Quran Burning Canceled
Quran Burning Canceled by Fla. Pastor
Taliban Calls on Afghans to Avenge Quran Burning
FBI Agents Visit Fla. Pastor over Quran Burning
Quran Burning Plan Prompts U.S. Travel Warning
Some Call for "Burn the Stars & Stripes Day"
Quran Burning Legal? Protest Possibly Protected
Pakistan: Beck Should Denounce Quran Burning
Quran Burning Protests in Afghanistan
Pastor Will Not Cancel Quran Burning
Jones: Judaism, Other Religions "Of The Devil"
Hillary Clinton: Quran Burning Not American Way
Clinton: Quran Burning Does Not "Represent America"
Bloomberg: Pastor Has Right to Burn Quran
Angelina Jolie Condemns Planned Quran Burning

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