Geneva, April 22 – The Swiss foreign ministry has summoned the Israeli representative to Bern in response to “excessive” criticism by Israeli officials of a Swiss-Iranian presidential meeting, the official Swissinfo news website reported Tuesday.
The move follows Israel’s decision on Monday to recall its ambassador to Bern for “consultations” following a meeting of the Swiss and Iranian heads of state ahead of the United Nations anti-racism conference in Geneva.
The Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement that it “deplores the excessive language used in this context by different Israeli representatives.”
The ministry said Israeli authorities had been informed in advance of the meeting between Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was therefore surprised at the “virulent” reaction from Israeli officials.
The two heads of state met Sunday night to discuss bilateral ties, ahead of the opening of the UN Durban Review Conference in the western Swiss city where Ahmadinejad gave a speech on Monday. Enditem Meanwhile, an Iranian Majlis deputy here Tuesday hailed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN-sponsored anti-racism conference in Geneva.
“The live coverage of Ahmadinejad’s speech at the Durban II conference by world media on Monday was among great achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran in demonstrating anti-racism stance,” Second Vice-Speaker of Majlis Mohammad-Reza Bahonar said on Tuesday.
He added, “Angry reaction of the Zionist regime to Ahmadinejad’s remarks was a clear proof of this fact.”
Bahonar assessed as “undiplomatic” the move by ambassadors of European countries in walking out of the conference hall, saying, “This move was not important. Rather, it was important that hundreds of officials remained in the conference hall and heard the president’s speech.”