Gulf & Middle East
Ban Ki-moon thanks Ahmadinejad for marines' release
Apr 5, 2007 - 11:08:15 AM

Tehran, April 5 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon thanked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for releasing 15 detained British naval seamen.

Speaking to Ahmadinejad over the phone Wednesday evening, the UN secretary general expressed the hope that such matters would not occur in the future.

'In order to perform my duties and succeed in my missions I enthusiastically look for the assistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the UN permanent representative, and your support,' IRNA quoted Ban Ki-moon as saying.

'In the case of the British marines, if that country's officials had acted more wisely and properly the matter would have been solved much earlier and we hope through paying respect to international laws and treaties, we would not witness the occurrence of such matters in the future,' Ahmadinejad told Ban.

Ahmadinejad congratulated Ban for his appointment to the post, pointing out serious challenges at the international scene currently, with which the nations are entangled.

Iran had released the British sailors Wednesday, 13 days after it detained them for 'illegal entry' into Iranian waters.

'While we insist on our rights, the 15 sailors have been pardoned and we offer their freedom to the British people,' Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Tehran, broadcast live on Iranian television.

Iranian forces had seized the 15 British naval personnel March 23 for 'incursion' into its territorial waters. But Britain said its soldiers were in Iraqi territorial waters.

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