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Iranian President Causes Uproar with Anti-Israel Speech
Peter Goodman, the British ambassador, called Ahmadinejad's remarks "outrageous" and "anti-Semitic," the reports said. His French counterpart, Jean-Baptiste Mattei, said the Iranian leader was trying to "take this conference hostage" with comments that were harsher than expected.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said Ahmadinejad's words "run counter to the very spirit of dignity of the conference."
The Israeli government, which was preparing to mark its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on Tuesday, derided the U.N. gathering for giving Ahmadinejad an international podium. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him "a racist and a Holocaust denier who doesn't conceal his intention to wipe Israel off the face of the earth."
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador to Switzerland to protest a prior meeting between Ahmadinejad and the Swiss president, Hans-Rudolf Merz. At the same time, it called in Switzerland's senior diplomat in Israel to convey official displeasure.
"The meeting between the president of a democratic country with an infamous Holocaust-denier such as the president of Iran, who calls for Israel's destruction, does not mesh with the values that Switzerland represents and that are supposed to be represented by the U.N. conference on terrorism," the ministry said in a statement in Jerusalem.