A blistering attack on the United Nations by Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri was rejected on Thursday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as "totally false and unacceptable".
Ban condemned Zawahiri's statement in a morning get-together with UN staff in Romania's capital Bucharest, where he is attending a three-day NATO summit that is discussing the situation in Afghanistan.
"The secretary general just told UN staff in Romania that the Al-Qaeda statement was 'totally false and unacceptable'," a UN spokesman travelling with Ban told AFP by e-mail.
The spokesman added that Ban had earlier held discussions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the United Nations' support for the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Islamic world.
"The secretary general was very clear on Thursday that United Nations should be seen as a friend of the Muslim world and that he was alarmed by the Al-Qaeda accusations," he said.
In an online audiofile on Wednesday, Zawahiri said, "The United Nations is an enemy of Islam and Muslims: it is the one which codified and legitimised the setting up of the state of Israel and its taking over of the Muslims' lands."
The audio released via the monitoring group the IntelCenter, was the first installment in a two-part series to answer about 100 questions put to Zawahiri, known as Al-Qaeda's ideological thinker, via online militant forums.