Manmohan Singh unlikely to meet Obama at UN



Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama are unlikely to meet during the UN General Assembly session in New York next week, but may meet at other international forums later this year.

"We don't have any bilateral meetings planned at this point" with South Asian leaders, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes told reporters on Friday previewing Obama's schedule at the UN.

"I think that it is our expectation that the President will be able to see in his travels later this year, including to the East Asia Summit and other forums, he'll have opportunities to engage with Prime Minister Singh," he said.

No bilateral meeting was planned with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as he was not coming for the UN session because of flooding in Pakistan.

But "I think we anticipate opportunities later in the year to have consultations with, for instance, Prime Minister Singh and the Indians", Rhodes said.

Noting that the US "obviously have expressed our support for permanent membership for India during the president's trip", to India last November, Rhodes said: "Again, there's been no evolution in the US position."

However, in any discussion on the issue of Security Council reforms, Obama will take note of the fact that there are many aspirants to greater status at the Security Council today and "will reiterate that all nations who participate in the Security Council system have a responsibility to uphold peace and security through their actions", he said.

Obama would be meeting more than half a dozen world leaders, including those of Afghanistan, Libya, Brazil, Japan, Britain, France, Israel and Sudan during his three day trip to New York beginning Monday, Rhodes said.

The focus of his meetings and his remarks at the UN on Wednesday will be pressing global issues like Libya, Palestine, global economic issues, and the Middle East, he said.

US also anticipates a lot of discussions around issues related to international waters like the South China Sea at the East Asia Summit in Indonesia later this year and some of those other venues, Rhodes he said.

"So it's not a focus of UNGA, but we see on the horizon opportunities to address those issues."

IANS