The Multilateralist

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 ...

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.”

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.  

David Bosco is an associate professor at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of books on the U.N. Security Council and the International Criminal Court, and is at work on a new book about governance of the oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration of a captain's hat with a 1980s era Pepsi logo and USSR and U.S. flag pins.

The Doomed Voyage of Pepsi’s Soviet Navy

A three-decade dream of communist markets ended in the scrapyard.

Demonstrators with CASA in Action and Service Employees International Union 32BJ march against the Trump administration’s immigration policies in Washington on May 1, 2017.

Unionization Can End America’s Supply Chain Crisis

Allowing workers to organize would protect and empower undocumented immigrants critical to the U.S. economy.

The downtown district of Wilmington, Delaware, is seen on Aug. 19, 2016.

How Delaware Became the World’s Biggest Offshore Haven

Kleptocrats, criminals, and con artists have all parked their illicit gains in the state.