Kofi Annan arrives in South Africa for WCAR

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- UN secretary general Kofi Annan is expected in South Africa Wednesday ahead of the World Conference against Racism that opens in Durban on Friday.
South Africa's Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robertson will meet Annan on his arrival, and all three will later take part in the WCAR flag raising ceremony.
The run up to the conference has been marred by disputes about issues on the Agenda.
The US has indicated it was boycotting the conference because the preparatory committee did not remove from the agenda the issue of Zionism being equated to racism.
At an ongoing NGO meeting preceding WCAR, President Thabo Mbeki gingerly alluded to Washington's bluff when he said "the studied silence of apostles and practitioners of racism and sexism has not lulled us into the belief that what is not proclaimed from the rooftops does not exist".
However, bickering over Zionism took a back seat as the confrontation between labour movements and the South African government culminated into a two-day strike expected to involve about four million workers.
Cosatu, the congress of South African trade unions, called on its members to strike Wednesday and Thursday against the government's plans to privatise state assets.
Although Cosatu, the ANC and the South African Communist Party are part of a political alliance known as the "tripartite alliance," differences over privatisation have led to increasing speculation that the trio may soon part.
Analysts have predicted production losses of between 1,3 and 5 billion rand if the two-day strike goes ahead as planned.
Observers have expressed concern at the timing of the strike, which may put a damper on the Durban conference.
Other protestors are expected to converge on the venue on Friday and police say they will be out in full force to protect delegates.
South Africa will hand over the venue to the UN Wednesday.

29 august 2001 08:55:00

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