UNITED NATIONS — Egypt’s new president will meet with his Iranian counterpart at next month’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, diplomatic sources say.
In addition, U.N. General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon has invited President Obama to join Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a VIP lunch on Sept. 25, the opening day of the General Assembly,
The Washington Times has obtained a list of diplomats and leaders who are expected to attend:
• French President Francois Hollande, who was elected in May, will make his first address to the assembly on Sept. 25.
• British Prime Minister David Cameron will address the assembly on Sept. 26.
• Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who was formally appointed in September, will address the assembly for the first time on Sept. 26.
• South African President Jacob Zuma also will make an address on Sept. 26.
Notable absences include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao, both of whom have vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions for stronger action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Pakistani President Ali Zadari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai also will not attend the assembly.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not attend but will send Defense Minister Ehud Barak in his stead. Both have criticized international diplomatic efforts regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
The Israeli leaders have been mulling a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, which they fear have been developing atomic weapons for use against the Jewish state. Iran repeatedly has said its nuclear program is geared toward peaceful purposes, but has refused to cooperate with international inspectors.
The U.S. and other Western nations have urged Israel to allow sanctions on Iran’s oil industry more time to change the behavior of the Islamic republic’s leaders.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to pursue statehood recognition for his people when he addresses the assembly on Sept. 29. Though not a member of the U.N., Mr. Abbas is being treated as an unofficial leader of a de facto state.
The U.S. and Israel strongly oppose the Palestinian strategy, insisting that only direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders can resolve their differences and achieve a two-state solution.