Ban Ki-moon

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The following article appeared on the Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA) website on September 1st. ABNA is an Iranian site and one could be forgiven for assuming that the article may be less than objective in portraying Ban Ki Moon’s pro-Iranian stance. Even so, if the quotes attributed to him are correct it is certainly clear that the UN chief does not buy into the narrative of the US and NATO with regards to either Syria or Iran.

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Ban Ki-moon censures West’s threats against Iran’s nuclear energy program

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised Iran’s kudos in the global arena and lashed out at the West’s threats against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised Iran’s kudos in the global arena and lashed out at the West’s threats against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program
At a press conference on the final day of the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Iranian capital Tehran on Friday, Ban touched upon Iran’s nuclear issue and in a reference to the threats by Israel, the US and its Western allies against Tehran, he said, “I have condemned the threats by any member state to destroy or delegitimize another.”

“I have reminded the leaders … throughout the world to lower the volume and stop the provocation that can lead the area down a slippery slope of conflict,” he added.

“It is time for more reason and responsibility. I urge you all to resolve differences through peaceful means,” the UN chief pointed out.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the UN secretary general praised Iran’s cultural and historical grandeur and the country’s remarkable contributions to the humanity, saying, “Iran has enriched and nourished the human civilization for centuries. As a founding member of the United Nations, Iran has also greatly contributed to creative initiatives such as the ‘Middle East nuclear-weapons-free zone’ and ‘dialogue among civilizations’.”

He also lauded Iran’s continued efforts to assist the Afghan nation during the US-led war in country as well as “hosting and protecting millions of Afghan refugees.”

The UN secretary-general alluded to Iran’s rotational presidency of the NAM, adding, “This is a very important opportunity for Iran to not only raise its political profile in the international community, but also demonstrate their leadership to exercise a moderate and constructive role in the regional and international issues.”

Ban described his visit to Iran and participation in the NAM summit as “very useful and very constructive.”

The UN chief pointed to his constructive talks with the Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in Tehran and expressed “frustration” over the standoff in negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

Referring to the ensuing crisis in Syria, Ban called on all the opponent parties to stop violence and urged the international community to facilitate diplomatic efforts and lend support to the efforts by UN-Arab League’s new peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, in an attempt to bring peace to Syria.

All the parties must stop violence. All those players who may be providing arms to both sides — the government and the opposition — must stop. Any militarization of the situation will only prolong this tragic situation and will press the Syrian people into further misery,” the UN chief pointed out.

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Father Roy writes:   This is precisely the kind of publicity Israel’s present government needs.  The following article was published in an Israeli newspaper.  The highlights are mine.  How likely are we to find this information in US newspapers?   Peace, Roy 

Netanyahu’s arrogance strengthened Ban’s resolve to visit Iran, UN officials say

Israeli PM requested that the UN chief cancel the trip, then proceeded to launch a social media campaign to that effect; Foreign Ministry official: If we had kept it quiet, it’s possible we would have achieved better results.

by Barak Ravid

The pressure exercised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to cancel his trip to the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Tehran apparently boomeranged. According to blogger Colum Lynch, who provides reports and analysis on the United Nations for the Foreign Policy website, the Prime Minister’s Office campaign only convinced Ban that it was vital for him to fly to Tehran and present a peace initiative related to the nuclear crisis.

According to Lynch, senior UN officials “said that Netanyahu’s public appeal to Ban — delivered in what staffers viewed as a condescending tone – backfired, fortifying Ban’s resolve to go.”

About a week ago, Netanyahu called Ban to ask him to cancel his appearance at the conference in Iran. But instead of exercising discretion about his conversation with the UN secretary-general, after the call Netanyahu hurried to issue a lengthy press release, in which he detailed everything he had said to Ban on the phone.

Ban’s office was furious that Netanyahu had “leaked” the contents of the conversation, and Ban’s fury only increased when he discovered that within days their conversation had morphed into an entire campaign. The Prime Minister’s Office initiated a social media drive, calling on Web surfers to send e-mails to the UN secretary-general asking him not to fly to Tehran. At the same time, a series of Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the World Jewish Congress issued press statements harshly criticizing Ban’s plan to travel to the conference in Iran. Ban’s associates were convinced that the attacks by Jewish groups had also been directed by the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. A senior Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu’s behavior in this instance had been mistaken, and his attack on the UN secretary-general had been totally superfluous.

“If we had continued making quiet contacts with Ban’s people it’s possible we would have achieved better results,” the official said.

Ban will arrive in Tehran on Wednesday to attend the opening ceremony of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting. At this stage it looks as if the conference will turn into an unprecedented public diplomacy effort by Iran regarding its nuclear program. In front of the building in which the conference is to be held, the Iranians have placed the cars of Iranian nuclear scientists who have been assassinated over the past two years, killings for which Iran blames Israel.

In addition, the Iranians announced that it will offer to take foreign leaders who come to the conference on a tour of the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, and also to visit other nuclear installations in an effort to prove that Iran’s nuclear program is meant solely for civilian purposes.

The Iranians are also looking into organizing a tour of the suspicious military base at Parchin, where the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran is conducting nuclear activities with military characteristics.

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Father Roy writes:  This article was published in today’s Jerusalem Post.  The highlights are mine.  The meeting will take place from August 29 – 31.   

Peace, Roy 

UN chief announces he will attend Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Tehran despite US and Israeli opposition.

08/22/2012

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision Wednesday to go to Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM) summit will make it more difficult for him and others to convince Israel to give diplomacy more time in dealing with Iran, government officials said.

The official said this was a “bad day for all those who wanted to see the exercise of vibrant diplomacy” end the Iranian crisis, because Ban’s visit will decrease Iran’s isolation and render hollow the argument that all peaceful means are being used – including diplomatic isolation – to press Tehran.

“This undermines the diplomatic pressure,” the official said. “Iran will view this as a victory, and say that as a result they are not isolated.

On the contrary, the leadership will be able to tell their people that international leaders are visiting their capital.”

By deciding to attend the conference, Ban has turned a deaf ear to direct appeals from the US and Israel, who urged him not to go.

A statement issued by his office said Ban will visit Tehran from August 29-31 and “looks forward” to the summit and working with the visiting leaders, “including the host country,” towards solutions on issues that are “central to the global agenda.”

The statement said Ban “takes seriously his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of its member states in the interest of peacefully addressing vital matters of peace and security.”

His decision to attend the conference comes just days after he condemned the Iranian leadership’s recent “offensive and inflammatory” comments about Israel.

“The secretary-general is dismayed by the remarks threatening Israel’s existence attributed over the last two days to the supreme leader and the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the UN press office said over the weekend.

Wednesday’s statement said that Ban would use his visit to “convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent, for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people. These include Iran’s nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a phone conversation with Ban two weeks ago, implored him to stay away from the conference, saying his presence would grant legitimacy to the regime at a time when it needed to be isolated. He said Ban’s visit now would be a “horrible mistake” that would forever stain both Ban and the UN.
“Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” Netanyahu told Ban.

Netanyahu came under some criticism at the time for publicizing what he said in the conversation. Some also argued that he backed Ban into a corner, and that if the secretary-general then decided not to go he would appear to be doing Israel’s bidding.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office rejected that criticism, saying it was important to make this message public and that Netanyahu did not violate any diplomatic codes by making public what he – not what Ban – said in the conversation.

On Monday US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also called on Ban to stay away from the conference.

“Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda, and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies,” she said.

Indeed, Iran’s official FARS news agency quoted the vicechairman of the parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, Mansour Haqiqatpour, as saying the summit “will promote the Islamic Republic’s political face and also serve as a good political backup for Iran in its future talks” with the world powers negotiating over the nuclear program.

He also said the summit would boost the Iranian economy, and that the presence of senior world officials would “prepare the bed for bilateral and multilateral negotiations to help Iran bypass the [Western] sanctions, establish joint banks, set up transportation and transit networks, and other areas of economic cooperation.”

Meanwhile, US Jewish organizations – which launched an effort to try and persuade Ban to stay away – slammed the decision to attend.

David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, issued a statement saying “we are stunned” that Ban “would honor a regime that consistently ignores both him and the world body he heads in ways that threaten regional and global security.”

Iran, at the meeting, will assume the rotating chairmanship of the 120-member organization for the next three years.