Sudanese diplomats scuffle at Iranian delegation hotel during UN General Assembly

By Colleen Long, AP
Friday, September 24, 2010

Sudanese diplomats scuffle at Iranian NYC event

NEW YORK — Sudanese diplomats scuffled with security workers at the hotel where the Iran delegation is staying during the U.N. General Assembly’s annual meeting, police said Friday.

Iran hosted an event Thursday evening at the Hilton Manhattan East Hotel near the United Nations. Members of the Sudanese delegation wanted to speak to Iran officials, and about 30 went to the hotel.

Some balked at going through the metal detector and started pushing and shoving each other, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. It’s not clear who started pushing or whether Iranian officials were involved in the scuffle.

They eventually started to pass through the detectors, but the area got too crowded and police got involved to clear people from the area, Kelly said. Two Sudanese men being ushered out tumbled down some steps with U.S. Secret Service agents and were arrested on charges of obstructing governmental administration.

They were released when it was determined they had diplomatic status, Kelly said. Under international law, diplomats generally have immunity from lawsuits or prosecution when visiting foreign countries. The arrested diplomats’ names were not released.

An NYPD detective injured his thumb, but no other injuries or problems were reported.

It’s not clear why the Sudanese delegation wanted to meet with the Iranians.

Iran is under four sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions as punishment for its failure to make its nuclear ambitions transparent.

Earlier Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had addressed the assembly, leading the U.S. delegation to walk out after he mentioned speculation that Americans were really behind the Sept. 11 attacks and that it was staged in an attempt to assure Israel’s survival. It’s not clear whether Ahmadinejad was at the event.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur province. The African Union on Friday asked the Security Council to delay prosecution for a year because it said it would interfere with efforts to end the seven-year conflict in western Darfur.

The heads of 192 nations are in New York for the General Assembly’s annual meeting, which has been in progress for two weeks and ends this weekend.

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