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August 28, 2017 3:46 pm

Guterres Arrives in Israel on First Visit as UN Chief

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Aug. 28. Photo: GPO. – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel on Sunday on his first Holy Land trip since becoming the UN leader in January.

Guterres was greeted at Ben-Gurion International Airport by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

“We look forward to showing you our country, an island of stability and prosperity in a tumultuous region,” Danon told Guterres.

The UN chief visited Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center Monday before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

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Guterres told Rivlin at the president’s residence in Jerusalem that calling for the destruction of the State of Israel “is a form of modern antisemitism.”

In his meeting with Guterres, Netanyahu commended the UN leader for turning “a new page in the relations” between Israel and the world body. He also addressed Iran’s “military entrenchment” in Syria and Lebanon. Guterres will reportedly discuss the situation in Gaza with the prime minister.

On Monday evening, Guterres was expected to attend an event showcasing Israeli innovation at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum, accompanied by Netanyahu and Danon.

During his three-day visit, Guterres will also hold talks with Palestinian leaders and visit a UN-run aid program in the Gaza Strip.

Since becoming the UN leader, Guterres has attempted to take a more evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after years of disproportionate criticism of Israel by the world body. He has also condemned Israel’s “occupation” in the disputed territories.

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