This was not an invitation to turn up late, an official dinner hosted by the President of the United States Joe Biden for world leaders attending the UN General Assembly in New York. In what would have been Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s first opportunity to join the table of the community of nations and participate in conversations with members of the U.S government, by the time the leftist leader arrived for the champagne reception, President Biden had departed to Washington.
The almost two-hour delay, and noticeable absence of President Petro at the dinner table inside one of Manhattan’s most visited landmarks, the American Museum of Natural History, was blamed on “traffic” crossing Midtown and mobility issues of the Colombia delegation reaching their vans after a lengthy meeting with the Norwegian delegation at the Colombian Permanent Mission. The famous New York City museum faces Central Park on the Upper West Side.
President Petro was joined by his wife and First Lady Verónica Alcocer, Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva and Chief of Cabinet Laura Sarabia. According to a statement from Cancillería, the Colombian delegation “had to walk half an hour to reach the presidential caravan parked 10 blocks from the Mission.” The Colombian Permanent Mission to the UN is located at 57 Street on the East Side. The meeting between Petro and Biden was to be one of the highlights of the Colombian President’s five day trip to New York and unique opportunity to discuss the bilateral agenda and 200 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Petro was among the keynote speakers earlier in the day of the UN’s Global Food Security Summit, event attended by U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken.