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Obama, Gaddafi, Ahmadinejad a potent UN brew

world Updated: Sep 06, 2009 23:41 IST
Patrick Worsnip
Highlight Story

The UN debut of US President Barack Obama and appearances by the Libyan leader and Iranian president promise drama this month at the General Assembly, the annual global summit more often marked by words than action.

Unlike his predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama has vowed to work closely with the United Nations and plans to spend all or part of three days in New York, making two speeches and chairing a meeting of the UN Security Council.

There has been widespread speculation he could announce a new Middle East peace initiative and host a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, both of them due to come to New York.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have both landed speaking slots on the key opening day — Wednesday, September 23 — of the assembly debate, when Obama, the presidents of France, Russia and China, and Britain's prime minister will also speak.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao will be addressing the assembly for the first time. They sent lower-level officials in past years, but this year they and others are visiting New York en route to the Sept. 24-25 G20 summit in Pittsburgh.