ISLAMABAD: US President Barack Obama will not meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for a meeting when the latter visits New York next week for the UN General Assembly session, it was learnt yesterday.
Pakistani and American diplomats confirmed that the meeting was highly unlikely.
The Foreign Affairs and National Security Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, had told parliament last month that Sharif was expecting to meet Obama on the margins of the session.
A US diplomat said Obama’s busy schedule did not allow for a meeting with Sharif who would be in New York on September 22- 29. Both would get a chance to shake hands on September 24 at a dinner hosted by Obama for visiting world leaders.
Sharif will have to wait for his one-to-one meeting with Obama till the last week of October or early November, when he visits Washington for his first official visit to the US since his election as the prime minister.
Secretary of State John Kerry had delivered an invitation to Sharif to visit Washington when he came to Islamabad on August 1. Pakistan and US are set to resume their Strategic Dialogue in coming months.
The two countries have been making intense efforts to put their relationship back on an even keel, but mutual mistrust and differences over counter-terrorism persist. Prime Minister Sharif intends to raise the issue of US drone attacks in his speech at the UN on September 26.
Parties that assembled on September 9 at an all-party conference to discuss a national security strategy had urged the government to explore the possibility of taking up the drone issue at the UN. Internews