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In UNGA "Insult," Obama Slated to Leave NYC 10 Minutes Into UN Luncheon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 24 -- Reflecting either President Barack Obama's lack of interest -- or of "respect," as one United Nations official put it to Inner City Press -- in the the UN, his schedule for September 25 does not include the annual "Luncheon hosted by the Secretary-General in honor of Heads of State and Government."

  The President of the U.S., as host country, traditionally attends and gives the toast at the S-G's lunch.

   But according to Obama's schedule, after first paying tribute to Bill Clinton by speaking at his corporate Clinton Global Initiative gathering at the Sheraton at 12:10, Obama will "depart New York City en route to Washington DC" from JFK Airport at 1:25 -- ten minutes after Ban Ki-moon's lunch begins.

   Less than an hour later, Obama is slated to arrive at Joint Base Andrews. "That the lunch isn't listed on his schedule is insulting, or really, depressing," a high UN official exclusive told Inner City Press, asking not to be named given what he called the "inordinate power" of the US over the UN, and of "Obama over Ban Ki-moon."

  Last year, the ritual remarks by Ban and then Obama at the luncheon began at 1:54 pm and ended at 2:03 pm. By this year's schedule, Obama will be over DC by then.

  The UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit's night-before Media Alert lists a Ban Ki-moon photo op with Obama at 10:50 am, before an 11:20 am photo with the Amir of Qatar, with at 1:15 pm in the General Assembly lobby the "luncheon hosted by the Secretary-General in honor of Heads of State and Government."

  Maybe the UN schedule is wrong; as Inner City Press has noted, it also lists a 3:30 pm press encounter by "Michael Spindelegger, Prime Minister of Australia" -- it's either Austria, or Julia Gillard.

  But unless one of the two schedules is wrong, Bill Clinton and "The View" have definitely eclipsed the United Nations. "Insulting" or "depressing," as the UN official asked Inner City Press? You be the judge.

  And also of Obama's speech. Earlier Monday at the UN, Inner City Press put the question of whether Obama will mention a ban on testing nuclear weapons to Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

  Toth replied, "Personally I would wish a one liner... we will have to see." Video here, from Minute 22:15. At "The View" and not the annual UN lunch, apparently. Watch this site.

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