22 August 2012 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Iran at the end of the month to take part in the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), according to his spokesperson.
“The Secretary-General looks forward to the Summit as an opportunity to work with the participating Heads of State and Government, including the host country, towards solutions on issues that are central to the global agenda including follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development, disarmament, conflict prevention, and support for countries in Transition,” his spokesperson told reporters today at UN Headquarters in New York.
Taking place in the capital, Tehran, and under the chairmanship of Iran, the NAM Summit will be held on 26-31 August, and is expected to draw representatives from its 120 members, as well as from various associated observer countries.
Over recent days, there have been media reports of calls, from Israel and the US, for Mr. Ban to boycott the meeting.
Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said that the UN chief takes “seriously” his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of the world body’s Member States, in the interest of peacefully addressing vital matters of peace and security.
“With respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Secretary-General will use the opportunity 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,” the spokesperson said. “These include Iran’s nuclear programme, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria.”
Over the past weekend, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General was “dismayed” by recent remarks threatening Israel's existence – attributed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – and condemned the comments, which he described as “offensive and inflammatory.”
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