Israeli ambassador returns to Swiss post

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Ilan Elgar returns to Switzerland a week after Israel recalled him in protest over Swiss-Iranian meeting.

GENEVA - The Israeli ambassador to Switzerland returned to his post Monday a week after Israel recalled him for "consultations" in protest over the Swiss president meeting with Iran's leader.

The Swiss head of state Hans-Rudolf Merz met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before a UN conference on racism on 19 April.

The event was boycotted by Israel, the United States and other Western countries over concerns about anti-Semitism. Ahmadinejad sharply criticised Israel during his conference speech.

Israel's ambassador Ilan Elgar on Monday said the Israeli foreign ministry repeated to him its position that "Iran may be a question of diplomacy and commerce for Switzerland, but it is a matter of survival for Israel," he said according to the Swiss news agency ATS.

He added that the reaction of his country to the Swiss encounter with Iran would stop with that "message".

Merz described criticisms of his meeting with Ahmadinejad as "unjustified".

Swiss officials also stressed that they represented the interests of the United States in Iran since 1980 and work to have a regular dialogue with the Iranian authorities.

AFP / Expatica

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