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PM may Meet Obama, Gilani for Bilateral Talks in New York

Tuesday, 13 September 2011, 15:16 Hrs
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly next week will see high-profile bilateral diplomacy as well that could include meetings with US President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Manmohan Singh goes to New York Sept 21 and returns Sept 27. Manmohan Singh will be participating in the UNGA after a gap of two years.

He last went to New York in Sep 2008, during which he held meetings with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the UNGA and had his last meeting with then US President George Bush in Washington.

Manmohan Singh is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, the global body's 193-member policymaking organ, at the General Debate on Sep 24.

Manmohan Singh's visit comes at a time when there is renewed momentum for accelerating UN Security Councl reforms. India held the rotating chair of the UN Security Council for August.

India returned to the UN Security Council Jan 1, 2011 as a rotating non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years.

Indian oficials are trying to set up a meeting between Manmohan Singh and Obama, but the itineraries of the two leaders are clashing. Obama is scheduled to leave for Washington before Manmohan Singh lands in New York.

There is a strong possibility that the meeting may be firmed up by the time Manmohan Singh heads to New York.

If the meeting takes place, issues relating to the civil nuclear liability law may figure in the discussions.

In fact, with Manmohan Singh taking a decision only a week ago to attend the UNGA, hectic efforts are on to fix other bilateral meetings.

Manmohan Singh is keen to meet Gilani, reliable sources said. The two sides are in touch to set up the meeting. Manmohan Singh and Gilani last met on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Thimphu in April 2010.

The meeting is not ruled out, said an official who declined to be named.

Manmohan Singh is also expected to meet Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and newly-appointed Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on the sidelines of the UNGA.

External Affairs Minister S.M Krishna will be going to New York before the prime minister's visit and will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from various countries.
Source: IANS
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