UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the summit of the Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries in Tehran next week despite strong opposition from Israel and Jewish groups outraged at Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel, the UN announced yesterday.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban will participate in the August. 29-31 summit because he is determined to carry out his responsibilities to the 120-member organisation and to raise directly with Iran’s leaders the threat to Israel’s existence, which violates the UN Charter’s requirement that member states refrain from threatening other states.
Ban also plans to convey the international community’s expectations that Iran make urgent progress on issues including the country’s controversial nuclear programme, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria, Nesirky said.
“While there, the secretary-general can speak on behalf of the entire international community to make clear directly to the Iranian leadership what the world expects from Tehran and to encourage positive and constructive responses,” he said.
Nesirky said Ban is “fully aware of the sensitivities” of the visit, but not going “would be a missed opportunity.”
He said the secretary-general expects to have “meaningful and fruitful discussions” with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other senior officials.
The Nonaligned Movement was founded in Belgrade in 1961 at the height of the Cold War by countries that considered themselves independent of the main power blocs at the time led by the Soviet Union and the United States. It has grown over the past 50 years and Iran was elected as NAM’s current chair, replacing Egypt.
Nesirky said the Non-aligned Movement includes some two-thirds of the UN’s member states, and it is customary for the secretary-general to attend the organisation’s summit to address key global issues.