United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, whose Iran visit to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit has met with objections from the US and Israel, will convey concerns of the global community over the country’s nuclear programme and human rights during his trip to Tehran.
“The Secretary-General also 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 spokesperson told reporters here.
He said Ban 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,” including Iran’s nuclear programme, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria.
The UN Chief left the US Tuesday to attend the 16th NAM Summit and is expected to address the meeting of the 120 nations on August 30.
Ban’s decision to attend the summit in Iran was announced last week despite efforts by the US and Israel to isolate Tehran over its nuclear programme.
Ban’s decision to attend the meeting was announced last week and came despite strong objections raised by American and Israelis including a phone call to UN chief by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The summit comes at a time when tensions are mounting in the Persian Gulf, with Iran defying Security Council resolutions to halt its uranium enrichment and Tehran’s strong backing for the Assad regime in Syria.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also in Tehran to attend the 16th NAM summit and will also hold bilateral talks with the top Iranian leadership.
“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,” the spokesperson added.
Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky had told reporters yesterday that there are no plans for the Secretary-General to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities, including the enrichment plant in Natanz and the conversion facility in Isfahan.
“There are no such plans for visits of that kind by the Secretary-General while he is in Iran for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. Of course, if the Iranian authorities are prepared to provide access to others, not least, of course, those from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that would be welcome,” he had said.
“But that would be for the Agency itself to comment on, particularly with regard to the access they may already have at two those locations,” Nesirky added.
Under a rotating system, Iran has the chairmanship of NAM through 2014.
The summit began yesterday and ends on Friday, and is expected to draw representatives from its 120 members, as well as from various associated observer countries.
The Secretary-General Ban is expected to return New York on Saturday.
At a meeting in Moscow in June, Iran and the E3+3 grouping, made up of the United Kingdom, the US, China, France, Germany and Russia, were unable to reach an agreement on concrete and reciprocal measures on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Ban has previously expressed the hope that the parties can quickly achieve a negotiated solution that restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
In 2011, the Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.