Ayalon: Ban paved the way for others to attend NAM

Deputy FM says leaders planned to boycott Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran until UN Sec.-Gen. decided to attend.

Danny Ayalon 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Danny Ayalon 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A number of world leaders who were going to boycott the Non-Aligned Movement summit currently taking place in Tehran changed their mind when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced he would attend, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Monday.
Ayalon, who declined to say which leaders he was referring to, said the argument used by these statesmen was that they could not boycott the meeting if Ban attended.
Ban is scheduled to arrive in Tehran on Wednesday to take part in the summit of some 120 countries who make up the NAM.
“We still have the highest respect for Ban,” Ayalon said.
“We will always work with him on issues of mutual interest.
But we believe it is a grave error for him to go to Tehran and honor a regime that is anti- Semitic, that has violated six UN Security Council resolutions, that has threatened to destroy another member state, and that continues to provoke and challenge norms of the international community.”
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Ayalon rejected those justifying Ban’s visit by saying he will send a strong message to the Iranians – saying that “despotic regimes know how to manipulate messages and legitimize themselves in the eyes of their own people.”
The deputy foreign minister deflected criticism by those saying that Ban’s decision to go to Tehran, despite appeals by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to do so, is a failure of Israeli diplomacy.
Netanyahu, he said, did what he had to.
“We can only ask,” he said.
The summit began Sunday at the level of “experts” and deputy foreign ministers, will continue Tuesday and Wednesday with foreign ministers and conclude Thursday and Friday at the level of heads of state.