New low for US-UK ties as Obama meets Brown in a New York kitchen

     US President Barack Obama finally agreed to a one-to-one meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but in the most unlikely of places - a New York kitchen. The meeting significantly shows that relations between United States and Britain continue to experience a downswing over the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi. Obama, who is currently in New York attending the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, has snubbed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, leaving "the special relationship" at its lowest ebb for nearly 20 years, reports The Telegraph. According to the paper, British officials made five attempts to secure official talks with the US President and even agreed to a policy change in an attempt to land a joint appearance between the two leaders. But the White House rebuffed the offers and Brown, had to settle instead for a snatched conversation with the President in a New York kitchen. It was disclosed earlier this week that Brown would not hold bilateral talks with Obama, despite the President hosting individual meetings with the leaders of Japan, China and Russia. Downing Street claimed that this was not unusual. However, a British diplomat told The Daily Telegraph that the White House's refusal to meet Brown had been a serious embarrassment for the Prime Minister. "It is wrong for people to say that we have been relaxed about the way things have gone. There were five attempts to set up a meeting and none have come off," he said. The White House said Brown and Obama would chair a meeting tonight about Pakistan, and would "spend all day Friday together." However, Friday's meeting in Pittsburgh involves the full G-20 group of world leaders. Obama has expressed his dismay and anger at the release of the Lockerbie bomber in a telephone call with Brown earlier this month. Brown has maintained that freeing the Libyan was a matter entirely for the Scottish executive. Nearly 200 Americans died when Pan Am flight 103 was blown up over Scotland in 1988. Yesterday, families of victims protested at the UN in New York where Brown and Libya's leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi, made speeches.

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