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.
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Kanye West gives guest lecture at Oxford University: 'If I, Kanye West, can remove my ego, I think there's hope for everyone'
'This is what Islam tells us to do': A rare glimpse inside a Saudi Arabian prison – where Isis terrorists are showered with perks and privileges
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This precious metal refining co...
£20000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Conveyancing Fee Earne...
£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...