Iran's controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and
Venezuela's fiery leader, Hugo Chavez, intend to travel to NYC the week of
Sept. 24, confirm United Nations officials.
Both will attend the opening session of the annual General Assembly.
Another "personality" with a checkered background will also be at the U.N.
Nicaragua's new president, Daniel Ortega, will also travel to the Big Apple.
Once a revolutionary firebrand detested by the Reagan administration,
Ortega, never one to pass up an opportunity to take a shot at the U.S.,
told the General Assembly in 1986:
"President Reagan should remember, Rambo exists only in the movies!"
The diplomats gave the Sandinista leader a standing ovation, and that
prompted U.S. Ambassador Vernon Walters to bolt from the assembly hall
and tell reporters:
"They may have to listen to this crap in Managua [Nicaragua's capital], but
I don't have to listen to it in New York."
Ortega then went onto a controversial media "jog" in Central Park and later
a high-powered shopping spree, capped by the purchase of a pair of designer
glasses costing $700.
Venezuela's Chavez, often labeled a "clown" by White House officials, raised
many an eyebrow when he called President Bush "the devil" during his 2006 U.N.
The White House got revenge only weeks later when it successfully blocked
Chavez from gaining a seat on the U.N. Security Council.
It is not clear what's on Chavez's agenda for 2007.
Bush intends to spend three days in NYC, say White House officials.
While in Manhattan, the president expects to confer with British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President
Nicolas Sarkozy, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A meeting between a group of high-level North Korean diplomats and U.S.
diplomats is also possible, say Washington sources.
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