Keeping track of U.N., Ahmadinejad


NEW YORK (JTA) – The annual gathering of world leaders for the September opening of the United Nations General Assembly here has long generated a feverish pace of diplomacy among American Jewish groups. But the dominance of Iran on the international agenda this year, coupled with the Iranian president’s visit to New York and his scheduled appearance at Columbia University, has significantly raised the volume.

Two major protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit are slated for Monday.

On Sunday, Jewish organizations held the first of what is expected to be more than 60 meetings with visiting world leaders.

The General Debate, the seven-day forum at which each visiting dignitary speaks before the General Assembly plenum, will begin Tuesday morning.

Below are highlights of events scheduled for the week.

Monday, Sept. 24:
* National Rally To End The Threat Now, Daj Hammarskjold Plaza at noon.
Scheduled speakers include Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, former American U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and various local and national political leaders.

* Rally against Ahmadinejad at Columbia
An afternoon rally is scheduled to coincide with the Iranian president’s appearance at 1:30 p.m.

* Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee
Members of the 12-nation body coordinating development assistance to the Palestinians are scheduled to meet. Livni is expected to participate.

* High-level event on climate change
Israel is scheduled to deliver a statement during a session on the role of technology in fighting climate change.

* Interfaith Iftar Dinner
Livni and the secretary-general of Oman’s Ministery of Foreign Affairs, Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Al Bu Said, will participate in the traditional meal breaking the Ramadan fast, hosted by the American Jewish Committee.

Tuesday, Sept. 25
* General Debate opens
President Bush is slated as the second speaker during the morning session. Ahmadinejad will speak sixth in the afternoon session, beginning at 3 p.m.

* Ceremony with German chancellor
German leader Angela Merkel will receive the 2007 World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

Monday, Oct. 1
* Livni will address the General Assembly in the morning session, followed by a news conference.

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