18:53 , 10.23.09

 
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Optimistic
Photo: Shahar Azran Minister Shalom (L) and Ban Photo: Shahar Azran
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Minister Shalom to UN chief: Bury Goldstone Report

Deputy prime minister meets with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, tells Ynet latter vows not to pass Gaza war report on to General Assembly before examining Human Rights Council's decision to adopt it
Roni Sofer

Another chapter in Israel's battle against the Goldstone Report: Friday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and told him the report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, should be "buried".

 

After the meeting Shalom told Ynet, "I am more optimistic that Ban won't pass the report on to the Security Council."

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Two weeks ago the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the report and decided it should be further debated in the UN. According to the minister, Ban responded to his request saying, "The report will not be passed on for discussion at the General Assembly until I examine the decision to adopt it."

 

Shalom told Ynet, "I told the secretary-general that the report was composed by a committee that was set up in sin which included Iran, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.

 

"Our army is a moral one. We paused combat every day in order to allow for the delivery of aid to Gaza's civilians, we phoned people at their homes in order to warn them before striking terrorists that took shelter among them. No other army in the world would do that.

 

"I told him that I request the report not reach the Security Council. The secretary-general responded saying, 'You know it can reach the assembly (via a third party country). I answered saying there is a difference between him taking it forward to the General Assembly and a country like Libya doing so."

 

Discussing Iran, Lebanon

During their meeting, the two also discussed the agreement proposed by the West to Iran regarding its nuclear program. "Iran will not change its ways. Iran's intentions are beyond a nuclear program – it aspires to revive the Persian Empire, and for Iran, this is just a way to buy time," Shalom claimed.

 

"Iran is deceiving the entire world and laughing, exploiting the naiveté and turning the agreement into a barrel that will blow up in our faces. The agreement is a big mistake that we are likely to pay for in the not-so-distant future," he added.

 

According to Shalom, Ban shares Israel's concerns with regards to Iran's nuclear program, but said he would like to believe that the draft agreement is a first and important step towards reaching an understanding between all parties and a real solution to the problem.

 

The deputy prime minister also brought up recent tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border in his meeting with Ban, saying this month's explosion in a Hezbollah weapon's shed in the south of the country, as well as the smuggling of arms through the Damascus airport and the Lattakia Port are blatant violations of Resolution 1701.

 

"The UN must act in any way possible in order to monitor and ensure that the resolution is upheld in full," Shalom added. "I told him that UNIFIL is helpless. The secretary-general told me that in the coming days he is slated to publish a report on the happenings in Lebanon."

 

Yitzhak Benhorin, Washington contributed to this report

 




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