UN’s Ban yet to comment on attending NAM summit

State Dept. spokeswoman says Iran undeserving of high-level delegations from Egypt, UN for Non-Aligned Movement meeting.

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August 22, 2012 00:42
1 minute read.
UN's Ban and Iran's Ahmadinejad shake hands [file]

Ban and Ahmadinejad 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A day after the United States publicly called on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon not to go to Tehran Sunday to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement’s leadership summit, Ban’s office Tuesday refused to say whether he had decided to attend.

A spokesman in his office offered only a “no comment” on Iranian media reports saying Ban finalized his plans to attend the summit of the 120- country NAM. At that meeting, the Islamic Republic will take over the bloc’s three-year rotating presidency.

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Asked directly whether Ban had yet made up his mind regarding whether to attend, the spokesman repeated that he would not comment on media reports. The summit is scheduled to begin Sunday.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday – when asked about the possibility of Ban attending, as well as the scheduled attendance of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy – that the US does not think Iran “is deserving of these high-level presences that are going there.”

“Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda, and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies,” she said.

Nuland said the US hoped that those who do attend the conference will take the opportunity of any meetings with Iran’s leaders “to press them to come back into compliance, to use the opportunity of the P5+1 talks [with world powers US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany] to come clean about their nuclear program, and take up all of the other concerns that the international community has about Iran’s behavior.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Ban some two weeks ago and urged him against attending the conference, saying that doing so would grant international legitimacy to Iran. Diplomatic officials said that if Ban attends, a number of other leaders of NAM states may follow.

Diplomatic officials have played down the significance of Morsy’s visit, the first Egyptian presidential visit to Iran in some 30 years.

Morsy’s attendance at the meeting was not within the framework of bilateral ties, the officials said, but rather to transfer the leadership of NAM – which Egypt has held over the last three years – to Iran.


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