UN chief defies U.S., Israel; plans trip to Tehran

Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:20pm GMT
 

* Ban plans to attend non-aligned summit in Iran-envoys

* U.S., Israel want Ban to boycott Tehran summit

* U.N. chief has criticized Iran for anti-Israel remarks

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to attend a summit meeting of leaders of non-aligned developing nations in Tehran next week, defying calls from the United States and Israel to boycott the event, U.N. diplomats said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission said it appeared that Ban would be attending the summit next week, though he declined to speak on behalf of the secretary-general's office.

Several other U.N. diplomatic sources said that barring any unexpected scheduling changes, Ban would attend the meeting of some 120 non-aligned nations in Tehran.

"It's a very important bloc of nations," a diplomatic source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "Of course the SG (secretary-general) is going. He can't not go."

A Security Council diplomat said it was important for the secretary-general to go. He said Ban should not turn his back on the entire non-aligned movement because one member, Iran, happens to have a president who doubts the Holocaust and questions Israel's right to exist.   Continued...

 
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