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TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL-designate ban ki-moon
AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, 14 DECEMBER 2006
Question: One of the subjects that you did not mention was the question of Iran and its own nuclear programme, and also its relations with Israel, especially in light of the recent Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran. I was wondering whether you plan to take any initiatives with Iran on either of those issues.
Mr. Ban: As you know, the Security Council is engaged and is currently discussing a second resolution on Iran. I hope that the issue can be resolved at the negotiating table in a timely manner.
I think that this Iranian nuclear development issue has much greater implications on the situation in the region and globally. Therefore, I would urge the authorities of Iran to engage in negotiations, as they had been with the European Union + 3 countries. The most desirable way is to resolve all the pending issues in a peaceful way through dialogue.
The second part of your question was on…?
Question: On Iran’s relations with Israel, whose elimination it has called for, and also the denial of the Holocaust.
Mr. Ban: Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community.
Question: Dear Mr. Secretary, on behalf of the Islamic Republic News Agency, I welcome you to the UN. My question is: Israel has officially ended its nuclear ambiguity policy, and Mr. Olmert has publicly confirmed the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel. Don’t you think that peace and security in the region have been seriously threatened?
Mr. Ban: Again, I would urge the parties concerned, on this issue, to engage themselves in dialogue so that all the issues could be resolved in a peaceful way.
Question: I would like to ask about the Holocaust denial conference one more time. The Iranian President denied the event that actually led to the foundation of this Organization. I was wondering how you intended to address that issue -- if the United Nations is going to address that issue.
Mr. Ban: Again, it is a historical fact, and denying historical facts, especially such a very important historical fact as the Holocaust, is not acceptable. It is not acceptable. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself visited Iran and had a series of dialogues with the Iranian leadership and other senior-level people. Wherever and when, and if the situation requires me to do, I am also prepared to engage in dialogue with the Iranian leadership.
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