Photo: Reuters
Annan. 'Not an appropriate time'
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Iranian president. 'Wipe Israel off the map'
Photo: Reuters

Annan cancels Iran trip over remarks

U.N. Secretary-General cancels trip to Iran in response to Iranian president's call for Israel to be 'wiped off map', Israeli officials express their satisfaction

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has canceled a trip to Iran in response to increasing tension over the Iranian president's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map."


Annan decided it is "not an appropriate time" for him to go to Iran, citing the "ongoing controversy" over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks last week, according to a statement from the secretary-general's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.


Political sources in Jerusalem expressed their satisfaction with Anan's decision.


They noted that the decision was made following a series of international condemnations of the Iranian remark and due to diplomatic pressures on the part of the United States, Israel and other countries.


On October 26, Ahmadinejad demanded the Jewish state be "wiped off the map." He has since defended the call, which drew international criticism.


Annan expressed "dismay" last week over the remarks in a rare rebuke of a U.N. member state.


"In light of the ongoing controversy, it would have been difficult to advance the agenda that (Annan) had wanted to discuss with the Iranian leadership," Dujarric's statement said Friday.


His revised itinerary includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Pakistan, with a brief stop in Paris to meet with French President Jacques Chirac on Monday.


Since the 1967 and 1973 Mideast wars, Israel has come under attack in the United Nations from a coalition of developing countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


In 1975, the General Assembly voted to equate Zionism with racism, a move that was repealed in the 1990s. But Annan has said "deep and painful scars remain" for both sides. He has made a priority of reaching out to Jews during his tenure.


Roee Nahmias contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 11.04.05, 23:49
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