Steinitz. Waiting for Netanyahu's decision Photo: Gil Yohanan
Israelis to boycott Rohani's UN address
Minister Yuval Steinitz, Israel's current most senior representative to General Assembly, tells Ynet he and Ambassador Ron Prosor will not listen to Iranian president's speech Tuesday. Officials waiting for PM's instructions on whether to walk out of auditorium when address begins or just stay away
WASHINGTON – Israel's
official representatives will boycott Iranian President Hassan Rohani's
address at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
Minister Yuval Steinitz,
who is currently Israel's most senior representative to the General Assembly and Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor
have confirmed that they will not sit in the auditorium during the speech.
The two officials are now waiting for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
instructions on whether to leave the auditorium when Rohani starts speaking, or just stay away altogether.
The Iranian president is expected to deliver a moderate address and not to reiterate the statements made by his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
which included threats to wipe Israel off the map, Holocaust denials and a variety of accusations against the United States and the West.
Steinitz told Ynet that his meetings with European foreign ministers in recent weeks, in Europe and at the UN, have revealed that they are also expecting actions and not just talk from Rohani.
"British Foreign Secretary Hague has also stated that he is not impressed by Rohani's rhetoric," the minister noted. He said the European diplomats "are waiting for Rohani's address to see if he is just declaring his desire for a dialogue, or is actually willing to implement the Security Council resolutions."
Western reps to remain in their seats
The Israeli delegation will likely be alone in its decision to leave the auditorium or boycott the speech. In recent years, when former Iranian President Ahmadinejad addressed the UN, dozens of Western representatives had walked out of the auditorium during his speeches, but this is not expected to repeat itself this time.
Rohani will deliver his first address in New York on Tuesday evening, several hours after US President Barack Obama. On Thursday, on the sidelines of the General Assembly, the foreign ministers of the six world powers – including US Secretary of State John Kerry – are expected to hold a historical meeting
with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif.
Zarif, who served as Iran's
ambassador to the UN last decade, began his first day in New York on Monday with meeting with the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands, and with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Zarif conveyed to the Europeans that his country was interested in entering serious negotiations and quickly solving the nuclear crisis. After the meeting, Ashton told reporters that she was impressed by his "energy and determination."