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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he understood the concern in the Jewish community over his meeting last month with Kurt Waldheim, according to participants in a meeting between Ban and representatives of the World Jewish Congress. Waldheim, the fourth U.N. secretary-general and later president of Austria, was the target of a campaign by the WJC in the 1980s to expose his Nazi past. Waldheim has denied committing war crimes, though he admitted to lying about his service in the German army. WJC President Edgar Bronfman told Ban on Tuesday that it was the appearance of the meeting that worried him, particularly since Waldheim is widely shunned in the diplomatic community. Ban has said the Waldheim meeting was a personal one. Ban, who is meeting Wednesday with Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and will visit the Middle East later this month, said he would urge the Palestinians to honor their past commitments to Israel. A spokesperson for the WJC said the meeting was warm and constructive.

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