Swiss deplore "excessive" reaction to Iran talks

The foreign ministry has summoned the Israeli representative to Bern in response to "excessive" criticism by Israeli officials of a Swiss-Iran presidential meeting.

This content was published on April 21, 2009 - 08:43

It follows Israel's decision on Monday to recall its ambassador to Bern, Ilan Elgar, for "consultations" following the meeting of the heads of state ahead of the United Nations racism conference in Geneva.

"The foreign ministry has received confirmation of the recall of the Israeli ambassador to Switzerland," it said in a statement.

"The ministry deplores the excessive language used in this context by different Israeli representatives."

The statement also noted that Israeli authorities had been informed in advance about the meeting between Hans-Rudolf Merz and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was therefore surprised at the "virulent" reaction from Israeli officials.

The presidential meeting had been held alongside the UN conference, of which Switzerland was the host, and took place within the context of its mandate to represent the United States in Iran, the ministry added.

Switzerland used the occasion to broach the human rights situation in Iran and criticised both Ahmadinejad's suggestion that the Holocaust never happened and calls for Israel's destruction, the statement said.

swissinfo with agencies

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