Obama is not deliberately punishing David Cameron for failing to get parliament to back British military intervention in Syria by not holding a one-to-one meeting at the G20 summit, Iain Duncan Smith has insisted.
The US president is scheduled to have a meeting with French president Francois Hollande who is expected to join Obama in military strikes against the Syrian regime - but no bilateral has been planned with Cameron.
Asked if the lack of a scheduled meeting between the prime minister and Obama was a snub, Duncan Smith said today: "No, I don’t think it is."
And the work and pensions secretary suggested the decision by Obama to gain congressional approval for military action was a direct result of the British parliament's vote.
"The interesting thing is president Obama wasn’t going to have a vote in Congress, but as a result of our vote he’s having a vote in Congress," he told Sky News."The French weren’t going to refer to their National Assembly but now they are."
The allegations of a snub recalls the embarrassment of Gordon Brown at the 2009 G20 when Downing Street was said to have requested a bilateral meeting with Obama five times - only to have them all turned down.
Ken Clarke has claimed that American pressure led to the prime minister urgently recalling parliament last week in an attempt to win support for military strikes that were set to take place within days. The veteran Cabinet minister told Channel 4 News yesterday: "The Americans wanted us to make this vote very quickly."
In the event Cameron lost the vote and had to concede he would not able to to join any American and French led intervention in Syria.
"Last week the House of Commons voted clearly, and I have said that I respect the outcome of that vote and will not be bringing back plans for British participation in military action," the prime minister said yesterday.
Obama subsequently decided to delay military action and give the US congress a chance to give any use of force its stamp of approval.
Yesterday the president said the international community's "credibility was on the line" as he urged congress to sanction the us of force.
"I do have to ask people, well, if, in fact, you’re outraged by the slaughter of innocent people, what are you doing about it?" Obama asked. "The moral thing to do is not to stand by and do nothing."
"Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated, in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act, that some of the horrendous things that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for," he said.Suggest a correction