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UNGA president in spat with Israel says he got death threats

world Updated: Dec 16, 2008 10:32 IST

AFP
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The president of the UN General Assembly, who is locked in a bitter spat with Israel, has said he had received death threats which are being investigated by United Nations security officials.

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, a Roman Catholic priest and former Nicaraguan foreign minister, also slammed as "malicious" and slanderous reports that he allegedly tried to bar Israel's UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev from speaking at a plenary session of the assembly.

A statement released by his spokesman, Enrique Yeves, stated that "very serious threats have appeared on the Internet against the life of the president of the General Assembly.

"This matter is being looked into by pertinent authorities," it added.

The statement also reacted to Israeli press reports that D'Escoto tried to prevent Shalev from speaking last week at a plenary session to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"This is a malicious and absolute lie that could best be characterised as 'slander'," D'Escoto said through his spokesman. "Information from the media attributes senior diplomatic officials in the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations as the source for this irresponsible accusation."

D'Escoto also slammed Israel's "arbitrary detention" and denial of entry to Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories.

Falk, who is the UN's monitor of human rights in the Palestinian territories, last week prompted Israel's ire when he said its policies against people in the territories amount to a "crime against humanity.