Gaddafi causes trouble for Brown.again
By Liz Stephens
Gordon Brown’s speech to the UN general assembly yesterday was delayed by Colonel Gaddafi, while the PM dealt with apparent snubs from the Obama camp.
Delivering an extraordinarily eccentric and lengthy speech which, among other things, criticised the UN for failing to equally represent developing nations, Colonel Gaddafi ran over his allotted 15 minutes by well over an hour – pushing back other leaders speeches and bi-lateral meetings.
This meant the British prime minister was delayed in giving his speech to set out key foreign policy objectives ahead of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh and the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen.
Libya has been a thorn in the side of Mr Brown ever since the Scottish government made the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber last month.
It has been rumoured that the prime minister is being snubbed in New York by president Obama because of US anger over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight yesterday, US state department spokesman, Ian Kelly, denied that bad relations were behind the fact that the prime minister has no formal meetings scheduled with the US president while in New York.
“There is no tit for tat here,” he added.
Number 10 downplayed the lack of meetings with a spokesman saying there would be “lots of scope in the next couple of days for the prime minister and President Obama to be in informal contact”.
Perhaps in an attempt to heal relations with the US, Colonel Gaddafi heaped praise on Barack Obama during his speech saying: “We would be happy if Obama could stay forever as the president of America.”
However, most American representatives including Hillary Clinton, boycotted his speech – as did Mr Brown, who told BBC Radio 5 Live earlier in the day: “I don’t think I will be there for that.
“I have made my views very clear to the Libyans. The way that Megrahi was received in Libya was completely unacceptable.”
Downing Street have been keen to stress that there are no plans for any bi-lateral meetings between Mr Brown and Colonel Gaddafi,
However, officials were unable to rule out whether other British ministers or officials will be in contact with their Libyan counterparts while in New York.
Both Mr Brown and Colonel Gaddafi will be attending a special meeting of the UN Security Council on non-proliferation today.