Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Gul Can't Find Time to Meet Peres but Plans Meeting Ahmadinejad in NY

20/09/2010 Turkish President Abdullah Gul clarified Monday morning that he would not be meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres in New York due to a tight schedule.

He added, however, that "we will not forgive Israel for those killed in the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla, even if Israel apologizes." His remarks were quoted by Turkey's official Anatolia news agency.

Speaking at a press conference in New York for the 65th UN General Assembly, Gul also addressed the issue of peace in the Middle East, saying that "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not limited to the Middle East. This issue is a source of problems in other parts of the world too. It's a serious threat to the world."

The Turkish president's New York schedule includes many meetings with representatives from all around the world, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"The cooperation with Turkey and our attempts to reach an understanding between Iran and the five world powers and Germany will be discussed in the talks. I believe that many leaders will dedicate several paragraphs in their speeches to Iran, because it's one of the problems troubling the world," Gul added, saying he would not criticize Iran.

The Turkish president arrived in New York with his country's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who has at least 50 meetings on his schedule.

An Israeli official at Peres' office claimed in response that "the meeting between the two was not canceled as it was never set in an organized manner."

Last week, Today's Zaman quoted an unnamed official as saying that Gul had intended to tell Peres that relations between the two countries won't be normalized until Israel apologizes for the flotilla raid and pays monetary compensation to the families of those killed during the ensuing clashes.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials said in June that Israel would not apologize to Turkey over the raid and that the demand for an official apology was mainly an excuse to allow Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

Turkish President Gul will meet Ahmadinejad instead of Shimon Peres ...

"Gul said Monday that he would no longer be able to meet with President Shimon Peres on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, citing time constraints. Gul will meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, telling reporters in New York that he expected the international row over Tehran's contentious nuclear program to top the agenda for many at the conference. Although Gul would not say that he had decided not to meet Peres due to tensions over the raid, he did tell Turkey's official Anatolia news agency: "We will not forgive Israel for those killed in the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla, even if Israel apologizes." ..."

Posted by G, Z, or B at 9:29 AM

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