The Multilateralist

A UN Sideline Meeting That Will Actually Happen

A UN Sideline Meeting That Will Actually Happen

The chance for a hallway encounter between President Obama and his Iranian counterpart has come and gone:

After two days of discussions between American and Iranian officials about a potential meeting of the leaders, a senior administration official said the Iranian delegation indicated that it would be “too complicated” for Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Obama to bump into each other.

“We did not intend to have a formal bilateral meeting and negotiation of any kind,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. “For them, it was just too difficult for them to move forward with that type of encounter at the presidential level, at this juncture.”

But another notable sideline meeting between adversaries appears to be in the works. Via Reuters:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will meet this week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Singh said on Wednesday, amid heightened tension between the neighbours over Kashmir.

Analysts expect the meeting will address a series of fatal clashes along the Line of Control dividing the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, events that followed a pact by the two nations to resume stalled talks to strengthen ties.

Most accounts suggest that a Singh-Sharif meeting will be much more substantive and detailed than an Obama-Rouhani confab was ever going to be. And it’s at least arguable that it deals with an even more dangerous situation.