23 August 2006, UN News Center - Secretary-General Kofi Annan considers anyone who would try to deny the truth of the Holocaust or make false claims about it to be a bigot, his spokesman told reporters at United Nations Headquarters in New York today.
Responding to a question at the regular press briefing about whether Mr. Annan would raise the subject of Iran's cartoon contest on the Holocaust during his expected upcoming visit to the country, Stephane Dujarric reiterated that Mr. Annan condemns all forms of anti-Semitism.
Mr. Dujarric said that while he would not pre-judge any of the issues to be discussed, Mr. Annan has already made his views clear and has brought up the matter during previous discussions with Iranian officials.
He also said that the Secretary-General, as he did during the row earlier this year over the Danish cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad, affirms the universal right to free expression while insisting it must be used responsibly, and not as an incitement to hatred against anyone or any group.
Mr. Annan is likely to visit Iran as part of his trip to the Middle East and Europe, starting later this week, in which he aims to strengthen the situation in Lebanon and Israel following the formal cessation of hostilities there in the wake of the recent Security Council resolution.
Asked about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reported threats against Israel, Mr. Dujarric also noted that Mr. Annan has spoken out against them before and his position has not changed.
Last December Mr. Annan issued a statement expressing shock following media reports that Mr. Ahmadinejad had cast doubt on the truth of the Holocaust, in which the Nazi regime in Germany murdered one third of the world's Jewish people during World War II, along with countless members of other minorities.
He also called on UN Member States to combat Holocaust denial and to educate their populations about the well-established facts of the subject.
A month earlier the General Assembly passed a resolution which rejects "any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or in part."
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