As expected, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to the stage in Geneva and issued a blustering rant against Israel and Zionism. Many delegations staged a walkout.
It is rare for a Secretary General to single out a particular head of state for condemnation. But Ahmadinejad clearly crossed the line and Ban Ki Moon is obviously quite angry with what transpired.
Fresh from the UN presses:
Statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the remarks by the President of Iran at the Durban Review Conference
I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian President to accuse, divide and even incite. This is the opposite of what this Conference seeks to achieve. This makes it significantly more difficult to build constructive solutions to the very real problem of racism.
It is deeply regrettable that my plea to look to the future of unity was not heeded by the Iranian President. At my earlier meeting with him, I stressed the importance of the Conference to galvanize the will of the international community toward the common cause of fight against racism.
I further stressed the need to look to the future, not to the past of divisiveness. In this regard, I reminded the President that the UN General Assembly had adopted the resolutions to revoke the equation of Zionism with racism and to reaffirm the historical facts of the Holocaust respectively.
We must all turn away from such a message in both form and substance. We must join hands and work together to achieve a constructive, substantive agenda to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.