Thursday, August 31, 2006

Annan: Diplomat sub-ordinaire

From DEBKAfile: August 30, 2006, 10:57 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

The most burning issue on the mind of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his talks in Jerusalem was not Lebanon – but Iran

... the issues raised at his press conferences .... the full implementation of UN resolution 1701, the Israeli blockade of Lebanon, the kidnapped Israel soldiers, the embargo on imported weapons for Hizballah - were all left outside the closed doors of the conference rooms he entered in Jerusalem.

Inside, the UN Secretary went straight to the point: He wanted an Israeli message to hand to Iranian leaders in Tehran ... an assurance that... Israel undertook not to attack Iran. Annan ... told Olmert he intended placing this assurance in the hands of supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in person.

Olmert turned him down.

...Olmert asked the UN Secretary if he had procured a message in this spirit from Washington and, if so, would he submit the American and Israeli notes to Iran’s rulers together or separately. According to our sources, Annan ducked the questions and instead waxed eloquent on the breakthrough in Iran-Israeli relations which an Israeli pledge to refrain from attacking Iran was capable of effecting.

“With your note in my hand, I can get an interview with Khamenei himself,” he said. The UN secretary rated a meeting with president Mahmoud Ahmadnejad as of “no importance” except as a courtesy call. Annan explained that, on the strength of an Israeli assurance, he would be able to promise the Iranian leader that he need not fear UN Security Council sanctions or any other unpleasantness and that the nuclear controversy could be worked out amicably.

Olmert and Livni were not convinced. Secretary-General Annan departed Jerusalem empty-handed, as he did Beirut, where Hizballah refused to part with the slightest scrap of information on the abducted Israeli soldiers for him to carry to Jerusalem.

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