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Venezuela's UN envoy apologises to Israel over 'final solution' remarks

Ramirez had told UN Security Council members to ask themselves whether Israel sought to wage a 'final solution' against Palestinians
File photo shows Rafael Ramirez, permanent representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the UN (AFP)

Venezuela's UN ambassador has apologised to Israel's envoy over remarks suggesting that Israel was seeking a "final solution" for the Palestinians, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

Ambassador Rafael Ramirez made the remarks during a Security Council informal meeting on Friday on the protection of Palestinians.

Ramirez, a former foreign minister, told senior UN official Edmond Mulet during a meeting on Wednesday that he regretted the "language" that he used, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

He told Mulet, who is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff, that he had "personally apologised" to Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon, he said.

Ramirez stressed that "he stands against any form of anti-Semitism and fully respects the millions of victims of the Holocaust," Dujarric said.

During the Friday meeting, Ramirez was quoted as saying that UN Security Council members should ask themselves: “What does Israel plan to do with the Palestinians? Will they be disappeared? Does Israel seek probably to wage a final solution sort of solution as was perpetrated against the Jews?”

According to the Jerusalem Post, representatives from the US, the UK and the anti-occupation Israeli NGO Yesh Din rebuked the Venezuelan ambassador for his comments during the meeting. 

The "final solution" refers to the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews during World War II.

One of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council, Venezuela has been a strong supporter of Palestinian rights at the United Nations.