Controversy persists on WCAR agenda

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- South African Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Sunday that the contentious issues of Zionism being equated to racism and that of reparations for slavery, were still on the agenda of the UN World Conference Against Racism.
Speaking on the South African Broadcasting Corporation Newsmaker programme, Dlamini-Zuma affirmed that although still under debate, the two issues had contrary to speculations not been removed from the conference agenda.
"We still have seven days to negotiate the programme of action and I am confident that we would reach a consensus," said Dlamini-Zuma.
"You really can't talk about racism and how to deal with it without reference to the most barbaric forms of racism we have experienced," she asserted, adding "instead of quibbling about whether we should talk about it or not, we should be saying how can we collectively close this ugly chapter of our past.
" The US had warned it would withdraw if Zionism was equated to racism and if African nations called for reparations for slavery during the summit.
America stayed away from the UN conference on racism in 1978 and also skipped the subsequent one in 1983 over the Zionism issue.
But Dlamini-Zuma said it would be impossible to ignore the on-going turmoil in the Middle East at a conference of such a magnitude.
Concerning organisational matters, she said her government estimated that the conference would cost about 90 million rand (11 million US dollars), and that donors had already contributed 1.
3 million dollars.
Delegates, she said, were expected to pay their own travel and accommodation costs.
Meanwhile, hotels in Durban were reportedly experiencing an out-of-season boom, with some charging as much as 1000 rand (125 dollars) a night.

19 august 2001 14:03:00

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