September 24, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently apologized to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over leaking to the Israeli media parts of their conversation about Ban's visit to Iran last month, according to local media.

On Aug. 10, the two officials discussed the 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit, in which Ban was about to participate in Iran's capital of Tehran.

Tensions between Israel and the leader of the world body rose when the Israeli Prime Minister's Bureau soon thereafter released details of their talk, which reportedly infuriated Ban, the Ha' aretz daily reported on Monday.

Despite U.S. and Israeli objections to Ban's taking part in the meeting, the UN chief said then that "the opportunity of the participation will enable me to convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community over the Iranian nuclear issue."

Netanyahu, according to the daily, apologized to Ban as part of a "damage control" process, saying he did not mean to embarrass the secretary-general, whom he considers to be a great ally of Israel.

Netanyahu also praised Ban for his condemnation of Iranian Holocaust denial and threats by its leaders to eliminate Israel, during the convention, in response to the Iranians' declarations.

Netanyahu was not the only one to smooth things over with Ban. Defense Minister Ehud Barak had also reportedly contacted him, to insure that the diplomatic contretemps was behind them.

Netanyahu and Ban are scheduled to meet later this week at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Non-Aligned Movement, founded in 1961, consists of 120 members, 17 observer countries and 10 observer organizations. Its members are mainly developing countries from Asia, Africa and South America, supposedly not associated with any major power bloc.


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