A decision by the Czech Republic to leave a UN conference following attacks against Israel by Iran has come under criticism from within the EU.
The controversial speech by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the conference against racism in Geneva on Monday prompted a walkout by some delegates and won him applause from others. EU delegates present left the room during the speech – and in the case of the Czech Republic, the envoy did not return. That decision was criticised by the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel. “I deplore the fact that some EU countries decided not to attend (the conference) before even knowing what was in the final declaration. It’s a mistake, I find it strange that a country in charge of the EU presidency should display its preference in such a way,” said Michel. Earlier, the Iranian leader resumed his anti-Israeli rhetoric at a conference in Tehran, denouncing what he callled Israel’s “genocide and war crimes” in Gaza. Ahmadinejad accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinian people and demanded the arrest of so-called “Zionist criminals”.