Brown's attempts to meet star of the show end in the kitchen

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: 3D Creative Designer

Up to £26k DOE: Guru Careers: A Junior / Mid-Level 3D Creative Designer is nee...

Recruitment Genius: Piece Dyed Coordinator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning UK textile innovator specia...

Recruitment Genius: Piece Dyed Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning UK textile innovator specia...

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Sales Consultant / Presales Engineer / Sales Engineer

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software House that produces ...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen