Tags: Bush | Ban | meeting

Bush Summons U.N. Chief Ban Ki-Moon to White House

Friday, 02 Jan 2009 11:37 AM

By Stewart Stogel

President Bush has summoned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the White House on Tuesday.

Ban and his wife will dine with the President and Mrs. Bush in what has been described as a farewell courtesy call and working lunch, said deputy press secretary Gordon Jondroe.

In recent days, Ban has pushed for an immediate and unconditional halt to the military clashes in Gaza. That has put the U.N. chief in direct conflict with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who has echoed repeatedly the White House stance that any ceasefire be sustainable and not simply a chance for Hamas to regroup and re-arm.

Ban has also repeatedly labeled Israel's response to Hamas' rocket barrage as "disproportionate," something else the Bush administration has taken exception to.

As such, the U.S. delegation to the U.N. has effectively prevented the U.N. Security Council from taking any substantive actions and in the process, pushed Ban Ki-moon to the sidelines.

The meeting with Bush will come as a group of high-powered Arab foreign ministers will convene in New York to pressure the U.N. into some action to halt the Gaza fighting.

Diplomats believe that at lunch on Tuesday, Bush will "present" some views to Ban as to how the U.N. might be used to quell the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

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