The Israeli ambassador to Italy protested Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s planned attendance at an international conference in Rome.
The controversial Iranian president is slated to appear at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization summit in the Italian capital on June 3-5 – his first visit to Western Europe.
Though Israeli Ambassador Gideon Meier voiced confidence that Italy’s government would not acknowledge Ahmadinejad’s presence, he deplored the fact that Ahmadinejad had been invited to the Rome-based international agency.
“To imagine on the podium of a U.N. organization a leader who calls for the destruction of a member state is a disgrace for every democrat,” Meier told the La Repubblica newspaper Saturday, referring to Ahmadinejad’s stated desire to see Israel “wiped from the map.”
“And let’s not talk about the rest. He denies the Holocaust, he is the principal actor behind terrorism, he has a military nuclear program, he violates human rights of the Iranian people.”
Other leaders expected to attend the summit include French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.