Peace pacts are not solving Mideast dilemma, Iranian president tells former UN Secretary General
Middle East peace pacts will not solve the dilemma in the Middle East, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Monday told former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and several former heads of Western states, reported dpa.
Annan and the Western dignitaries were in Tehran for attending a religious conference initiated by Ahmadinejad's opponent and ex- president Mohammad Khatami.
"For 60 years the Zionist regime (Israel) has committed crimes in Palestine. The problem cannot be solved as long as Palestinian lands are occupied (and) five million Palestinians are homeless, even if all governments some and sign up peace pacts," Ahmadinejad said.
Also present at the meeting were the former presidents of Ireland and Portugal, Mary Robinson and Jorge Sampaio, as well as ex-premiers of Italy and Norway, Romano Prodi and Kjell Magne Bondevik.
"The roots of regional problems should be considered and problems cannot be solved by minor and sporadic moves," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the Road Map favoured by the West to settle the Israeli- Palestinian dilemma.
Iran, which does acknowledge Israel as a sovereign state, has several times proposed a referendum to be held by all Palestinians, including all refugees, to determine the fate of Palestine. Ahmadinejad also supports this option.
The proposal has however always been categorically been rejected by the West as it does neither acknowledge Israel nor includes the two- state option.
Ahmadinejad further said that another main condition for ending the crisis in the Middle East and Gulf region was the withdrawal of all foreign troops, especially US forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Israel was also a topic at Monday's international religious conference entitled Religion in the Modern World, where discrimination of Jews and provocative remarks against Israel were harshly criticized by the former Western leaders.
Former Norwegian premier Bondevik referred in the conference to the anti-Israeli tirades by Ahmadinejad and said that remarks such as "wiping out a country from the world map" would only add fuel to the fire of religious tensions.