Lula skips the UN, heads to G20

Brazil’s president Lula, who is a master at self-promotion and bringing his country to the spotlight, is skipping this week’s zoo meeting at the UN:
Cameron, Lula Absence Shows UN Losing Ground to G-20 Summits

World leaders are cutting back their visits to the United Nations General Assembly session this week as they find the Group of 20 and other smaller gatherings more effective venues to debate international problems.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose countries both sit on the UN Security Council, won’t be in New York. Nor will Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Chinese President Hu Jintao is skipping the UN week, handing off the duty to Premier Wen Jiabao.

“The UN is where you give a speech but there’s no group meeting,” said Jeffrey Shafer, who organized Group of Eight meetings as President Bill Clinton’s “sherpa” or personal representative to the gatherings. “The G-20 will have a more focused agenda than the UN, and it shows the primacy of the economic agenda.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a one-day appearance in New York yesterday to speak to a session on fighting developing-nation poverty. Like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is staying for two days, Sarkozy will leave before the major speeches start Sept. 23 from the podium of the General Assembly hall.

“It’s the 80-20 rule,” said Michael Hodin, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. More issues are being decided at smaller groups, including the Group of 20, which holds its next meeting in Seoul in November, Hodin said.

“If you’re dealing with something in the G-20, you’re already dealing with the 80 percent of world leaders who can make a difference,” he said.

Sarko’s even saying the UN is passe,

Sarkozy, whose country has the G-20 chairmanship next year, has called the UN anachronistic. “We can’t confront the 21st century with the institutions of the 20th century,” he said in May.

Particularly when those institutions have become forums for anti-capitalist, human rights violating tyrants.

In other UN news, Obama’s there today.

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