Jeremy Corbyn's office has insisted the Labour leader is "keen" to meet with Barack Obama as the outgoing US president visits the UK this week (21-24 April). The clarification to IBTimes UK comes after an article suggested the left-winger could break with tradition and miss a get-together with the American leader.
"A Labour source confirmed that the possibility of a meeting had been raised internally but that a decision had yet to be made. A second source confirmed that a possible slot was still available on Saturday," The Times reported.
A spokesman for Corbyn told IBTimes UK: "Nobody else would be sent [to meet the president]. Jeremy is keen to meet Obama."
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband met with Obama in 2014 in a bid to boost his credibility ahead of the 2015 general election. The quick encounter, dubbed a "brush-by", reportedly lasted just minutes. "The president and Mr Miliband affirmed the strong ties that bind the United States and the United Kingdom," the White House said of the meeting.
Corbyn has been an outspoken critic of Obama's foreign policy, once branding him a "Pentagon President". The Labour leader criticised Obama in 2011 following a successful US Special Forces raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.
"Obama has very rapidly morphed into a Pentagon president just like all the others in that he's increased the number of prison places at Bagram, he's failed to close Guantanamo Bay, and as I understand it the Pakistan government knew absolutely nothing about this raid," Corbyn told Press TV, which is backed by the Iranian government.
Obama's visit to Britain has ruffled the feathers of Brexit campaigners since the White House has said the president will make a 'friendly' pro-EU intervention if questioned about the referendum.
Vote Leave spokesman and cabinet minister Chris Grayling even claimed Obama did not understand the UK's relationship with the EU. "I don't for a moment think President Obama would tolerate a situation where America gave away as much sovereignty as we have to Brussels. It's inconceivable. The Democrats if they advocated that would be hammered at an election," he told BBC One's Andrew Marr show.
The House of Commons leader added: "In my view he perhaps does not understand the transfer of power that has taken place. But I can assure you, if Americans truly knew how much of our national sovereignty now resides in Brussels they would never argue we should stay."