Friday, December 12, 2008

UN General Assembly chief tries to block Israeli envoy's address

Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent

The President of the United Nations General Assembly tried to prevent Israel's ambassador, Professor Gabriela Shalev, from speaking at a special commemorative plenary session marking 60 years since the UN adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, scheduled for Wednesday. The General Assembly President, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, tried to cancel speeches that were to be given by representatives of the unofficial regional group known as "Western European and others," after he learned that Israel's ambassador was to represent the group as its rotating chairman.

However, European representatives rejected the motion to cancel the meeting, and voiced outrage at his attempt to prevent the address.

In response, Brockmann announced that he would add a representative of the Arab bloc and a representative of unaffiliated nations, two blocs known to be hostile toward Israel, to the list of speakers at the session.

The event is expected to turn into a political debate in light of these changes.

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