NGOs deplore Powell's absence from Durban conference

Paris- France (PANA) -- French NGOs have deplored the US government decision not to send a high-level delegation to the World Conference against racism to be held in Durban, South Africa from 31 August to 7 September.
The Durban Action group composed of associations that champion the cause of black people in France, particularly expressed disappointment at the non-participation of US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, the first African-American to hold that post.
"It is a regrettable decision for all supporters of the struggle against racial discrimination wherever they might be," said Mireille Bali of the Pan-African Alliance.
According to her, the presence of the first black US Secretary of State in history would have given added weight to deliberations at the Durban meeting.
Meanwhile, the humourist, Dieudonne M'Bala-M'Bala, noted that the argument given by the Americans for not sending Powell was not convincing because the entire African-American community looked forward to his presence in Durban.
"Today marks a serious setback in the struggle of our African-American brothers and it is disappointed to us," he added.
Meanwhile, Joss Rovelo of "Sud-PTT" accused the US of running away from its responsibilities, saying it was unbecoming for a country whose population is 13 percent black to take lightly a conference devoted to the fight against racism.
The US government has said that it would not send a high-level delegation to the conference in Durban to avoid being associated with a decision to isolate Israel by equating Zionism to racial discrimination

29 august 2001 21:02:00




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