The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

At the summit, side meetings galore

Sure, the Nuclear Security Summit is supposed to be about President Obama’s drive to secure all the world’s loose nuclear material. But hey, since all 47 nations have such high-level leaders in one place, why not set up a bunch of side meetings? And set them up they did. There are delegations scuttling this way ...

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Sure, the Nuclear Security Summit is supposed to be about President Obama’s drive to secure all the world’s loose nuclear material. But hey, since all 47 nations have such high-level leaders in one place, why not set up a bunch of side meetings?

And set them up they did. There are delegations scuttling this way and that, discussing who knows what, and coming up with new combinations for conversations every few minutes. The last one your Cable guy witnessed was when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought his entourage to meet behind closed doors with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his gang.

The French are having so many meetings, they reserved their own exclusive room to host them.  Everyone else has to schedule meeting space one at a time through the State Department.

The Chinese didn’t schedule any meetings at the convention center, preferring to hold court back at their hotel, the Wardman Park Marriott in northwest Washington.

And the Israelis don’t have any rooms reserved either, according to the State Department. But they are having meetings. We witnessed Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg exit the convention center this morning. (OK, he might not have been there to see the Israelis. But then around noon we saw Special Envoy George Mitchell. I wonder what he was doing there…)

Here are some of the other interesting meetings we are being told about. Russia is having a meeting with Ukraine and we heard Kazakhstan will also attend. Russia is also meeting with Japan. No word yet on what was discussed.

The United Arab Emirates is holding a string of meetings. Today’s roster included the French and the Singaporeans, although they missed their chance to meet with the South Africa delegation.

Yesterday, Mexico met with the EU delegation; Spain met with the team from the U.N.; and New Zealand and Chile sat down to talk, just to name a few.

President Obama even found time to squeeze in a few extra sessions. He sat down with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and also scheduled a new bilateral meeting this afternoon with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina.

Sure, the Nuclear Security Summit is supposed to be about President Obama’s drive to secure all the world’s loose nuclear material. But hey, since all 47 nations have such high-level leaders in one place, why not set up a bunch of side meetings?

And set them up they did. There are delegations scuttling this way and that, discussing who knows what, and coming up with new combinations for conversations every few minutes. The last one your Cable guy witnessed was when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought his entourage to meet behind closed doors with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his gang.

The French are having so many meetings, they reserved their own exclusive room to host them.  Everyone else has to schedule meeting space one at a time through the State Department.

The Chinese didn’t schedule any meetings at the convention center, preferring to hold court back at their hotel, the Wardman Park Marriott in northwest Washington.

And the Israelis don’t have any rooms reserved either, according to the State Department. But they are having meetings. We witnessed Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg exit the convention center this morning. (OK, he might not have been there to see the Israelis. But then around noon we saw Special Envoy George Mitchell. I wonder what he was doing there…)

Here are some of the other interesting meetings we are being told about. Russia is having a meeting with Ukraine and we heard Kazakhstan will also attend. Russia is also meeting with Japan. No word yet on what was discussed.

The United Arab Emirates is holding a string of meetings. Today’s roster included the French and the Singaporeans, although they missed their chance to meet with the South Africa delegation.

Yesterday, Mexico met with the EU delegation; Spain met with the team from the U.N.; and New Zealand and Chile sat down to talk, just to name a few.

President Obama even found time to squeeze in a few extra sessions. He sat down with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and also scheduled a new bilateral meeting this afternoon with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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