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No bilateral meet between Obama, Dr Singh at UNGA

September 17, 2011 12:04 IST

The White House has ruled out any bilateral talks between United States President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next week in New York where they will attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"We don't have any bilateral meetings planned at this point," US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters while briefing them on Obama's agenda in New York.

"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," Rhodes said on Friday evening.

Obama would be travelling to New York for three days next week beginning Monday to attend the General Assembly session of the United Nations.

Besides addressing the UN General Assembly, Obama would be meeting leaders of some countries.

Prominent among them are Libya's Mustafa Abdul Jalil; Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai; Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff; Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan; Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

While the focus of his meetings and his remarks at the UN will be pressing global issues like Libya, Palestine, economic matters and the Middle East, the US President is expected to reiterate his position on the reforms of the UN Security Council and support India's bid for its permanent membership.

"There's been no evolution in the US position. We obviously have expressed our support for permanent membership for India," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the US President, in his address at the UN General Assembly session, is expected to reiterate that all nations which participate in the Security Council system have a responsibility to uphold peace and security through their actions at the world body's top decision-making organ.

"We had a very successful vote on Libya -- two votes actually -- that I think are very strong indicators of the strength of the Security Council, in that you had, at the US request, provisions for all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya -- that has not been the case for many years -- that allowed, I think, one of the more successful humanitarian interventions to prevent a massacre to go forward, that, again, spoke to the legitimacy and the strength of UN-sanctioned action," he said in response to a question.

"So I think that one of the things that we take away from the Libya operation is that the UN has a critical role to play in these issues; that the international community can prevent a mass atrocity; and that going forward, we want to continue to work through the United Nations and with multilateral partners to accomplish those objectives," he said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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