Brown's attempts to meet star of the show end in the kitchen
Thursday 24 September 2009
Gordon Brown has made five abortive attempts to secure a formal one-to-one meeting with Barack Obama during his four-day visit to the US this week, it emerged yesterday.
Although British officials denied that the Prime Minister had been snubbed, all he has managed so far is a 15-minute conversation with the President in the kitchens of the UN headquarters in New York as they left the building together. Officials said their on-the-hoof discussion covered Afghanistan and the global economy.
The two men are due to appear together at a Friends of Pakistan event in New York today, but no press conference is planned. Sources said Mr Brown ordered his government to match Mr Obama's pledge to help the world's poorest countries combat swine flu in an attempt to secure a joint appearance. The UK will provide up to £23m.
Diplomats insist the President's diary is crowded during a hectic week. However, he is finding time for one-to-one talks with the leaders of China, Russia and Japan.
Mr Brown received a boost when several other leaders pledged to follow his lead by attending the climate conference in Copenhagen in December. Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister, said he was prepared to invite all leaders to take part.
Mr Brown's plan for industrialised countries to contribute $100bn a year by 2020 to help developing nations become low-carbon economies was also endorsed at a dinner of 23 leaders in New York.
With his speech delayed by more than two hours by Col Gaddafi's earlier appearance, Mr Brown reaffirmed support for the UN's founding principles after the Libyan leader had theatrically tossed aside a copy of the UN Charter and denounced its treatment of smaller nations.
"I stand here to reaffirm the United Nations Charter, not to tear it up," Mr Brown said to applause. "I call on every nation here to support its universal principles."
The Prime Minister issued a stark warning to world leaders to grasp the nettle in the next six months on "five urgent challenges" – climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, poverty and shared prosperity. "We are at a point of no return," he said.
Confirming that Britain would put its Trident nuclear weapons system on the table in talks on global disarmament next spring, he added: "In line with maintaining our nuclear deterrent, I have asked our [the Cabinet's] national security committee to report to me on the potential future reduction of our nuclear weapon submarines from four to three."
Yesterday, Mr Brown launched a £3.2bn scheme to bring an NHS-style healthcare system to Africa. Britain will contribute £250m to help African nations abolish fees for health care which affect millions of pregnant women, mothers and children. An estimated three million children have died as a result of "user fees".
The Prime Minister hailed the programme as "an historic step towards the goal of universal health care in Asia and Africa." He said: "We cannot let mothers die through lack of finance and through the persistence of user fees."
* Mr Brown made a 15-minute appearance at a dinner for the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, at which he received a World Statesman of the Year award for stabilising the financial system.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Exclusive: New evidence links the murders of Stephen Lawrence and a private investigator
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
- 5 Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...