Washington: US President-elect Barack Obama will not attend the G-20 Summit scheduled for this weekend as he believes that there is “only one president at a time”, his aides have said.
It was widely speculated that Obama will join the G-20 Summit on 15 November in which leaders from various countries, including India, will participate to discuss ways to overcome the financial crisis across the world.
Although invited to the global financial summit, Obama has opted to stay in Chicago and will not meet any of the leaders separately, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
“While some may say it’s awkward that he’s not there, it would be far more problematic to be there. We firmly believe there is only one president at a time,” Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to Obama, said.
Instead, the Obama team is scrambling to arrange for surrogates to meet with visiting foreign officials while emphasising that Bush remains the nation’s leader until 20 January.
“It’s not appropriate for two people to show up for this meeting,” John D Podesta, co-chairman of Obama’s transition team was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Foreign affairs veterans told the paper that Obama was trying to play it safe and avoid being forced to take positions on matters he is not authorised to decide, much less take ownership for the problems and decisions of Bush.
“I sort of understand why he can’t go to that meeting,” said Howard L. Berman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.