Reuters: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called off plans to attend a high-level U.N. meeting next week aimed at reviving stalled global disarmament talks, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called off plans to attend a high-level U.N. meeting next week aimed at reviving stalled global disarmament talks, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.
The meeting, scheduled for Sept. 24 during the annual General Assembly gathering of world leaders in New York, follows 12 years of inaction at the world’s sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum in Geneva.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Monday that he understood Ahmadinejad would take part.
But in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Ban said, “I understand that he is not going to participate in that meeting.”
U.N. officials said that until Monday Ahmadinejad had been the only head of state due to attend the meeting, which the world body had said would be at “ministerial or higher” level. They had since learned that he would not be coming.
The Iranian leader is, however, scheduled to be in New York next week and will address both a U.N. summit on the Millennium Development Goals and the General Assembly.
Ban said he would probably meet Ahmadinejad. “I hope I will have an opportunity of meeting him on a bilateral basis and we will discuss matters of common concern, including nuclear issues of Iran,” he said.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Tehran for refusing to suspend sensitive parts of a nuclear program that the United States and its allies suspect is aimed at developing weapons.
Iran rejects the allegations and refuses to halt its uranium enrichment program.
(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Christopher Wilson)