President Shimon Peres was in New York Tuesday for diplomatic meetings; Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently concluded a series of sessions in Washington, including a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon represented Israel in the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee which coordinates financial aid for Palestinian institution and economic building in the West Bank; and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been receiving prominent world politicians in his New York hotel room – so where is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?
This very question has been the talk of the day, brought up in private conversations between diplomats and whispered by political commentators along the hallways of the United Nations headquarters in N.Y. where every move made by world leaders is being closely watched and analyzed.
As a former UN ambassador and foreign minister, Netanyahu is aware of New York's centrality and importance as the diplomatic capitol of the world, where heads of states and media representatives meet during for the UN General Assembly summit.
Peres, who met Monday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and later with Abbas appears to be the acting prime minister in New York.
Similarly, Barak, who in a meeting with Clinton "discussed the negotiations and the need to overcome obstacles," according to his spokesman, appeared to be the acting foreign minister, and Abbas was reaping the diplomatic prizes.
Unlike them, the only man who hadn’t appeared at all on the N.Y. stage was Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a UN General Assembly session on poverty that capitalism was on the verge of death and that it was time for a new economic system.
"The discriminatory order of capitalism and the hegemonic approaches are facing defeat and are getting close to their end," Ahmadinejad said at a summit meeting assessing progress on achieving UN goals to drastically reduce poverty by 2015.
"The undemocratic and unjust governance structures of the decision-making bodies in international economic and political fields are the reasons behind most of the plights today humanity is confronting," he said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks.
Ahmadinejad had drawn large crowds for previous UN speeches but Tuesday's address was delivered to a virtually empty hall.
It was unclear whether the unusually low attendance was due to waning interest in Ahmadinejad five years after he first addressed the assembly or if it was the fact that he was one of the first speakers in the morning session, which began at 9 A.M.
Ahmadinejad offered no clear alternative to capitalism but said, "The world is in need of an encompassing and, of course, just and humane order in the light of which the rights of all are preserved and peace and security are safeguarded."
Ahmadinejad will address the 192-nation General Assembly again on Thursday during its annual General Debate, in which world leaders traditionally cover issues important to them.
In the past, Ahmadinejad has used the General Debate as a forum to defend Iran's nuclear program and assail its arch foes Israel and the United States, typically prompting walkouts by the United States and some European countries.
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