Gillerman to Annan: Cancel Iran trip

UN expected to establish worldwide Holocaust Awareness Day.

JPost talkback add (photo credit: )
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(photo credit: )
Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman is expected to allude to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call to destroy Israel when he presents a resolution to the UN General Assembly Monday calling for the institution of a worldwide Holocaust Awareness Day. According to Foreign Ministry officials, this resolution, which some 90 countries have signed, is the first Israel-initiated resolution to make it to the floor of the UN General Assembly for a vote. In 2003 an Israeli-initiated resolution calling for the protection of Israeli children from terrorism did not garner enough support to be brought to a vote. Foreign Ministry officials expressed confidence Sunday that the Holocaust Awareness Day resolution would pass the 191-member body. A simple majority of those present is necessary to pass the resolution. By coincidence, the vote on the resolution will come just a matter of days after the UN Security Council condemned Iran for Ahmadinejad's statements, marking the first time the Security Council has condemned the leader of a Muslim state for statements against Israel. While Israel welcomed the resolution, Gillerman made clear Sunday that Jerusalem wanted to see more UN action and called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to cancel his planned upcoming trip to Iran. Gillerman told Israel Radio that Annan's planned trip "sends a message of business-as-usual, and perhaps even grants legitimacy to a nation which demands the destruction of another state." Gillerman passed this message on to Annan as well, and said, "I hope that he will reconsider." The US's ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, expressed a similar sentiment, telling Israel Radio that "We hope the secretary-general will take all the factors into account in considering whether he's going to undertake that trip." Apparently anticipating that the trip may raise some eyebrows, Annan's office - in a statement he issued last week expressing "dismay" at Ahmadinejad's comments - said the UN head would "place the Middle East peace process, and the right of all states in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force, at the top of his agenda for that visit." Israel's resolution on the establishment of an UN-mandated Holocaust memorial day calls for it to be held each year on January 27, the day marking the liberation of Auschwitz. The resolution proposes "an annual international day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust." The resolution also urges member states to develop educational programs to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide; rejects any Holocaust denial; and "condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur." Among the countries which have asked to address the Assembly on the issue are Jordan, Brazil and Singapore. The Jordanian ambassador is expected to speak out in favor of the resolution.