Israeli ambassador returns to Bern

Israel's ambassador to Switzerland has returned to Bern a week after being recalled.

This content was published on April 27, 2009

Ilan Elgar was ordered home for "consultations" on April 20 after Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz met his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Geneva.

Ahmadinejad has suggested the Holocaust never happened and has called repeatedly for Israel's destruction.

The two heads of state met on April 19 to discuss bilateral ties, ahead of the United Nations racism conference in the western Swiss city where the Iranian president gave a controversial speech the following day.

The decision to recall Elgar was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, according to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry.

Merz said he understood why there was criticism of the meeting but that it was "unjustified".

Returning to Bern, Elgar said Lieberman had repeated to him his view that for Switzerland dealing with Iran might be just a question of diplomacy or trade, but for Israel it was a question of survival.

swissinfo with agencies

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In compliance with the JTI standards

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