Israeli PM apologized for embarrassing Ban

Sept. 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

JERUSALEM, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Israel's prime minister apologized for publishing comments in August that urged the U.N. secretary-general to avoid a summit in Iran, a diplomat says.

Binyamin Netanyahu said he had not intended to embarrass Ban Ki-moon when his office published the substance of a telephone conversation with Ban, Haaretz reported Monday.

Quoting a Western diplomat familiar with the conversation, the newspaper said the prime minister called Ban Aug. 10 to urge him not to attend a summit of member nations of the Non-aligned Movement in Tehran. Minutes later, Netanyahu's office released a statement detailing the prime minister's discussion.

A few days later, after Netanyahu realized publication of the comments had angered and embarrassed Ban, the prime minister called to apologize, the report said.

He thanked Ban for a speech in Tehran in which he condemned Iran's denial of the Holocaust and threats to destroy Israel, although Netanyahu said he still wished Ban had not made the visit.

Netanyahu said he considered Ban a friend of Israel.

The prime minister's office did not comment on the report.

Netanyahu and Ban are scheduled to meet this week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

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