Aftenposten Nettutgaven
 Thursday October 16 2008
Aftenposten Nettutgaven First published: 14 Oct 2008, 14:10
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Bondevik attempts dialogue with Iran's president

Kjell Magne Bondevik, a former Norwegian prime minister who now heads a peace center in Oslo, met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Teheran this week. Bondevik is part of a high-powered delegation trying to promote dialogue and peace in the Middle East.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) talks with talks with former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik

PHOTO: AFP


Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former Italian Prime Minister and EU boss Romano Prodi and the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, are among those who traveled to Teheran to participate in the "Conference on Religion in the Modern World," organized by Iran's Dialogue Between Civilizations Organization headed by former reformist Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.

Bondevik's Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights has been active in Iran and Bondevik himself had talks with Ahmadinejad Monday, during which Ahmadinejad claimed that a peace pact won't solve the most fundamental problems in the Middle East.

He accused Israel of attacking the Palestinians for 60 years, and maintained there can be no peace as long as Palestinian territory is occupied and 5 million Palestinians are homeless.

Bondevik, meanwhile, claimed that current conflicts and "war rhetoric" are not constructive and can lead to catastrophe, and called for better dialogue between the Islamic world and the west. Kofi Annan also criticized "opportunistic politicians" who make extreme statements in the hopes it will help get them elected.

The trip to Iran has been seen as an effort to further dialogue, and lend support to more moderate views in Iran.

Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB


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