Sonia Gandhi calls off US tour 2005-08-23 16:32:20

NEW DELHI, Aug. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of India's ruling coalition United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and AllIndia Congress Party President, has called off her visit to the United States.

Making this announcement on Tuesday, the Party said in a statement that the tour was called off as it was coinciding with the session of the All India Congress Party Committee, the party's policy-making body, and a meeting of Congress chief ministers.

Gandhi's visit was slated for the second week of September, at an invitation from the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). But the Party sent its regrets to the foundation last week.

A meeting with US President George W. Bush was also on the cards since Gandhi is also the chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

She was supposed to visit New York to participate in workshops and meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative, a gathering of world leaders September 15-17, organized by the Clinton Foundation.

The initiative would work towards solutions to problems in fourmain areas - poverty, religion, climate change and governance.

Among the guests invited by the CGI are British Prime Minister Tony Blair, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, French President Jacques Chirac, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and media magnate Rupert Murdoch.