Obama is to speak at New York's "Ground Zero" on Thursday and meet families of 9/11 victims [Getty Images/AFP]

George Bush, the former US president, has declined an invitation from President Barack Obama to attend a New York ceremony to mark the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight," said Bush spokesman David Sherzer.

Obama is to speak at New York's "Ground Zero" on Thursday and meet families of some of the victims of the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda in 2001.

Bush, whose eight-year presidency was largely shaped by the September 11 strikes, issued a statement congratulating Obama and the US military and intelligence agencies for a "momentous achievement”.

Obama called Bush on Sunday night to inform him of the successful raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. Sherzer said Bush "continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror."

Bush began the campaign to hunt down bin Laden after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington but failed to get him either killed or captured during his time in office.

Source: Agencies