Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu berated U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for agreeing to attend a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran.
“Even if it is not your intention, your visit will grant legitimacy to a regime that is the greatest threat to world peace and security,” Netanyahu’s office quoted the prime minister as saying Friday in a conversation with the secretary general. “Not only does it threaten countries throughout the Middle East, not only is it the greatest terrorism exporter in the world, but it is impossible to exaggerate the danger it presents to Israel.”
Netanyahu, who praised Ban in the phone call for his otherwise “fair” treatment of Israel, noted Iran’s alleged role in recent terrorist attacks as well as its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Iran is set to host the next Non-Aligned Movement triennial summit on Aug. 30-31.
U.S. Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, have called on Ban and other non-aligned nations not to attend.
“The government of Iran must receive a strong message from the international community, including many who have suffered directly or indirectly from Iran’s support of global terrorism as well as its dangerous pursuit of nuclear weapons capacity, to publicly declare their intention not to attend,” the Presidents Conference said Friday in a statement.
The movement, launched in 1961, was conceived as an umbrella for nations opting out of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, although many of its member nations ultimately sided with the USSR.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the movement has struggled to define itself.