No one-on-one meetings planned for Barack Obama at UN
The White House has not announced any planned bilateral meetings between US President Barack Obama and other world leaders while he is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly this week, DPA reported.
The move has drawn criticism, particularly for the decision not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which Republicans have called a snub of the US ally.
The White House downplayed Monday the lack of one-on-one meetings and brushed off criticism that the president had time for an appearance on a daytime women's talkshow but not a meeting with Netanyahu.
"The president has, just in the last few weeks, had extensive consultations with foreign leaders, including the leaders of Egypt, Israel, Yemen, Turkey, Libya," spokesman Jay Carney said. "And those consultations will continue not just with leaders in the region but with leaders around the world."
Carney said Obama would encounter many leaders Monday night and Tuesday in New York. Last year during UN General Assembly Obama held 13 bilateral meetings.
Carney also pointed to a recent hour-long phone call and a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Netanyahu.
Obama is to address the General Assembly Tuesday morning in a speech that will focus on the unrest in the Muslim world and the democratic transitions in the region, Carney said.
The president will reiterate that the US rejects the message of a video that prompted violent protests across the region this month, but emphasise that violence is never acceptable.
"He will also send a clear message that the United States will never retreat from the world," Carney said. "The United States will bring justice to those who harm Americans and the United States will stand strongly for our democratic values abroad."
Obama will also stress the need for Iran to meet its international obligations over its nuclear programme and "underscore that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon," Carney said.