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Page last updated at 02:03 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 03:03 UK

Palin in talks with world leaders

Sarah Palin meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai on 23 September 2008
Sarah Palin is meeting several world leaders while in New York

US Republican vice-president candidate Sarah Palin has met world leaders for the first time in what is widely seen as a crash course on foreign policy.

She met the leaders of Afghanistan and Colombia as well as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Alaska governor has faced strong criticism that she lacks experience in foreign policy.

She only got a passport last year and had not met a foreign head of state.

Analysts say Republicans want to bolster Sarah Palin's foreign policy credentials ahead of a debate with her Democratic counterpart Joe Biden.

'Right questions'

Mrs Palin, the running-mate to presidential candidate John McCain, held brief meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Mr Karzai and Mrs Palin discussed security problems in Afghanistan, including cross-border insurgencies.

Mr Karzai later said she had "asked the right questions on Afghanistan".

Mrs Palin then met Mr Uribe at the residence of Colombia's UN ambassador, discussing the fight against drugs and trade issues.

In her meeting with Henry Kissinger, Mrs Palin asked for insights on Georgia, Russia, China and Iran.

Correspondents say Mrs Palin is being prepared for a debate on 2 October with Mr Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has broad knowledge of US foreign policy challenges.

On Wednesday, Mr McCain and Mrs Palin are expected to meet jointly with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Mrs Palin is then due to meet separately Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

An opinion poll released on Tuesday showed Democratic candidate Barack Obama holding slight leads in swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and Minnesota.


Electoral College votes

Winning post 270
Obama - Democrat
365
McCain - Republican
173
Select from the list below to view state level results.

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