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Deaf to US, Israeli appeals, Ban to attend meeting in Iran

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Wednesday that – despite appeals from the US and Israel – he will attend the Non-Aligned Movement\’s leadership summit next week in Tehran.
A statement issued by his office said Ban will visit Tehran from August 29-31 and "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."
The statement said that 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. 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. 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, urged him to stay away from the conference, and said that his presence would give legitimacy to the Iranian regime at a time when it needed to be isolated. He said Ban\’s visit at this time would be a "horrible mistake" that would forever stain both Ban and the UN.
On Monday 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 IAEA, and other international bodies" she said.
At the meeting, Iran will assume the rotating chairmanship of the 120-member organization for the next three years.

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