Fallout continues after Israel, US withdraw from WCAR

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- The fallout following the decision of the United States and Israel to completely withdraw from the World Conference Against Racism continued Tuesday with delegates warning that the event could become a "total failure".
After all attempts to reach a compromise with the Arab bloc on anti-Israeli clauses in the draft conference declaration failed, US Secretary of State Colin Powell officially announced in Washington the withdrawal of the US delegation from the conference.
The Israeli delegation announced its complete and immediate withdrawal late Monday, saying no rational argument had carried any weight with the Arab countries.
"Not only have we been unjustly singled out, but totally false accusations and lies unrelated to the purpose of the conference have been flung at us," the delegation headed by Mordechai Yedid said.
On Tuesday, delegates from both countries were at Durban International Airport preparing to leave South Africa.
Both countries have come under renewed fire for their decision which effectively means that despite any progress which has been made at the WCAR, the world has once again been unable to agree on how to tackle racism and xenophobia.
However, fears that Canada, Australia and European Union countries would follow suit and withdraw appear to be unfounded.
European Union (EU) Council president Louis Michel said the 15 EU member states had decided to remain involved in the drafting of the final declaration.
Canada and Australia appear to share the same view.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said despite the setback, "the journey we began must continue until the end of the conference with a view to achieving a successful outcome.
"We must persist in our endeavours.
The victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance demand this of us".

04 september 2001 08:21:00




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