PM on way to UN, talks on for more bilateral meets

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh arrived in Frankfurt Wednesday on way to attend the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, where he is scheduled to hold a series of important bilateral meetings with world leaders besides addressing the General Debate on Saturday morning.

Five bilateral meetings figure on the PM's schedule and, interestingly, two of them are with newly elected leaders the prime ministers of Japan and Nepal. Officials in Singh's entourage do not rule out additional bilateral meetings.

These meetings may spill over to Sunday, when the PM is expecting to spend a few hours with daughter Amrit Singh, a New York-based lawyer specialising in human rights.

Singh begins his bilateral meetings with Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda, whom he will meet on Friday in his hotel. This will be followed by a crucial meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN headquarters, and with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday evening.

Following his address at the UNGA where he is expected to reiterate India's position on need for reforms in the UN as well as an expansion of the Security Council he will be holding the next round of bilateral talks. A meeting with Nepalese PM Dr Baburam Bhattarai will be followed by a meeting with President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit.

An indication of the key concerns that India was likely to address at the UNGA came in the departure statement of the PM, wherein he spoke about slowdown in the global economy as well as upheavals in West Asia, North Africa and the Gulf region.

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