Jesse Jackson takes issue with US boycott

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- Leading American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson is still hoping that US Secretary of State Colin Powell would attend the World Conference against Racism opening Friday in Durban, South Africa.
In an interview with PANA minutes after landing at Durban International Airport Thursday, Jackson said it was a serious mistake that Powell has not been sent to Durban "because he is our best bet".
The US decided at the last minute not to send Powell and a high level delegation because of concerns it has over Zionism issues on the agenda of the conference.
"He is a product of the struggle .
if he does not come, it isolates America and that is the last thing we need," Jackson noted.
The civil rights leader, who is accompanied by his wife Jacquie and six members of his Rainbow/PUSH organisation, said he has discussed the situation with Powell and expressed the hope that Powell would be able to use his vast experience on the subject of racism to contribute to the conference.
Prior to his departure from the US, Jackson was quoted in media reports as saying "to opt out of that conference is to opt out of a chance to lead the world toward more racial justice and multicultural living".
He was further quoted as intimating that "the irony of Mr Bush boycotting the conference and not allowing Colin Powell to come is that he opts out of world leadership on the issue of racial justice when America really has something to offer the conference".
Jackson said South Africa was the ideal venue for an event of this nature and magnitude because of its triumph over adversity.
"This country has demonstrated that life is better when bridges replace walls," he said.
Turning to Zimbabwe, South Africa's troubled neighbour, Jackson said he believes the issues that are affecting that country should also be addressed at the conference.
"No nation should be exempt from scrutiny," he said, adding "there are racial problems between the Hutus and Tutsis, there are problems in the Middle East and, yes, we have our own problems in the US - hopefully this conference will address racism around the world".

30 august 2001 16:21:00

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