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WASHINGTON, March 25. /TASS/. The White House has not reacted to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s request to meet with US President Barack Obama, Bloomberg said on Tuesday.
"Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House," Bloomberg said. Spokeswoman for the National Security Council Bernadette Meehan refused to comment on this issue, saying that "we don’t have any meetings to announce at this time."
"According to White House press releases, Obama didn’t exactly have a packed schedule," Bloomberg noted. On Tuesday, he held a meeting and press conference with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. On Wednesday, only a short speech on Affordable Care Act is planned in his schedule.
"The [George W.] Bush administration held a firm line that if the NATO secretary general came to town, he would be seen by the president ... so as not to diminish his stature or authority," former US permanent representative to NATO Kurt Volker told Bloomberg. Volker reminded that the situation in Europe has become tense because of the Ukrainian crisis. "It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office," Volker said.