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Israel recalls Switzerland envoy over racism parley

ISRAEL today called back its ambassador to Switzerland for consultations following Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz's meeting and dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, local news service Ynet reported.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this morning instructed the ambassador to return to Jerusalem in protest of Merz's meeting with Ahmadinejad, said the report.

Lieberman's office clarified that the move was in protest of Switzerland's approach towards "a Holocaust denier who has spoken more than once about the need to wipe Israel off the map."

Merz and Ahmadinejad had dinner together at a Geneva hotel last night. The Swiss government said in a statement that the two leaders had met to discuss diplomatic issues, including an eight-year jail sentence for a US-Iranian journalist convicted in Iran of spying.

The meeting focused mainly on "questions related to collaboration in the energy and economic sectors," added the statement.

Even before the meeting, Israeli officials had expressed their anger and resentment.

"There's no reason in the world for meeting with a Holocaust denier, the president of a country exporting terror, hatred and anti-Semitism," an Israeli official said.


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