Last update - 22:11 14/12/2006
New UN chief denounces Iran for denying Holocaust,
UNITED NATIONS - Incoming United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Iran on Thursday it was unacceptable to deny that the Holocaust took place or to call for Israel to be wiped off the map.
Ban was responding to a question asked at a news conference about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who since coming to power in August last year has caused an outcry by terming the Holocaust a "myth" and calling Israel a "tumor" in the Middle
Ahmadinejad just ended a two-day international conference on the Holocaust that was dominated by speakers who questioned the extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in World War Two.
"Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of states or people," Ban said. "I would like to see this fundamental principle respected in both rhetoric and practice by all the members of the international community."
A former South Korean foreign minister, Ban spoke to reporters after he took an oath of office in the UN
General Assembly as secretary-general to succeed Kofi Annan. He assumes his post on January 1.
Ban left open the possibility of visiting Tehran on a series of issues.
"Whenever and when the situation requires me to do, I am prepared to engage in dialogue with the Iranian people," he said.
But he avoided commenting on questions about Iran's nuclear ambitions, now the subject of a resolution before the UN Security Council.
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