5 World Leaders Who Cancelled Their Trips During Crisis
ONE of the hallmarks that define a great leader is his/her capability of knowing tasks that need to be prioritised. This quality is what separates them from mediocre leaders. To helm a country is a huge responsibility, and a great leader knows when a crisis occurs, priority is to be with their people.
With great respect, we bring you a few exemplifying leaders who have cancelled their scheduled trips overseas to be with their people in a time of crisis.
In February this year, Cameron cancelled his first trip ever to the Middle East as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom due to severe floods that hit the region. “I will continue to lead the national response by chairing meetings with the government’s emergency committee, Cobra. I am cancelling my visit to the Middle East next week. I am sending my apologies to Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. But nothing is more important than dealing with these floods,” he was reported as saying.
In October last year, United States President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit the Philippines and Malaysia but had to cancel his plans because a huge budget standoff in Washington had caused a government shut-down. The White House claimed that it was not possible to go ahead with the trips, "Because they are on the back end of the president's upcoming trip, our personnel was not yet in place and we were not able to go forward with planning," the White House said in a statement.
Ernest Bai Koroma
The Ebola outbreak earlier this year had caused Sierra Leone President Koroma to declare a health emergency as the epidemic got out of control. And as a result, the President cancelled his trip to Washington to attend the U.S.-Africa summit. “Sierra Leone is in a great fight… Failure is not an option," he told his nation in a televised address.
Thailand’s first ever female Prime Minister, Shinawatra is another leader who stood by her people in the face of adversity. In 2011, during one of the country’s worst flood situation, she cancelled plans to attend a Pacific trade forum in Hawaii to make sure her people were taken care of. “Now it’s time for all Thai people to help each other, so I’ve informed (the host of forum) that I would not go,” she said.
Greek Prime Minister Papandreou cancelled a visit to the United States in 2011 to deal with the deepening economic crisis back home, days before international inspectors arrived to go over fiscal shortfalls. “The Prime Minister judged that he should not be away. He wants to ensure that all of Greece's commitments (to its European Union partners) are fulfilled,” government spokesman Ilias Mossialos announced.
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