Obama Dodges Sitdown With Brown for Chat in UN Kitchen

White House declines 5 requests for talks from humiliated prime minister
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 3:01 AM CDT
Rabbi Arthur Schneier, chair of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, and Bono listen to Gordon Brown after he was presented with the foundation's World Statesman Award Tuesday night.   (AP Photo/Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Diane Bondareff)
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(Newser) – Brit papers are buzzing about President Obama's snub of visiting Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who asked for a meeting five times. Brown—keen to boost his profile as an international statesman as his poll numbers flatline in Britain—had to settle for a 15-minute "walk and talk" with Obama in the UN kitchens yesterday. The spurned prime minister "lurched from being hailed as a global statesman to intense embarrassment," the Guardian noted.

The chill is part of the fall-out from Scotland's release of the Lockerbie bomber, plunging relations between the nations to a new low. The British government denies there was any snub, although Obama has found time for private sitdowns with the leaders of Russia, China, and Japan. Obama and Brown will chair a meeting on Pakistan tonight. Brown's plans to speak to the UN General Assembly during a prime slot also fell through yesterday after Moammar Gadhafi's rambling speech delayed the prime minister's talk by nearly two hours.