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UN chief heads to Arab summit after row over Israel ‘apartheid’ report

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres travels to Jordan next week to attend an Arab summit following a row over the release of a UN report accusing Israel of being an apartheid state.

Guterres arrives in Amman on Monday for talks with King Abdullah II and to visit a refugee camp ahead of the Arab League’s annual summit near the Dead Sea on Wednesday, said a UN spokesman on Wednesday.

Last week, Jordanian diplomat Rima Khalaf resigned in protest after Guterres asked her to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing apartheid on the Palestinians.

Khalaf was head of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), a Beirut-based UN body comprised of 18 Arab countries.

The United States had expressed outrage over the report’s findings and demanded that it be scrapped, but Guterres’ spokesman has denied that the request to Khalaf to withdraw the study was made under US pressure.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the report had been taken off the ESCWA website at Guterres’ request because it was done without consultations with the UN secretariat.

Guterres will hold a round of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Arab summit expected to focus on the wars in Syria, Yemen, Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


© Agence France-Presse