Tanzania raps US demands at UN racism conference

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Tanzania has deplored threats by the US to pull out of the forthcoming UN racism conference in the port city of Durban, South Africa.
The US absence at the third UN Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance which commences Friday would not be unprecedented.
The multi-racial country, which built its wealth on the exploitation of African peoples, has boycotted the previous two gatherings of the conference.
Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister Jakaya Kikwete said Wednesday that the position taken by Washington was unfortunate but hoped it would reverse its decision in time for the meeting.
The US has threatened to pull out of the conference if the agenda includes talk of reparations for slavery and colonialism, or a measure which equates Zionism to racism.
Saying that Tanzania supported the text and language of the agenda, he maintained that demands by America that the agenda be changed to conform to what it deems acceptable is unfortunate.
He said provisions for reparations for the continent was consequently in order as history was testimony to the exploitation of Africa to a point of crisis through slavery, racism and apartheid.
"This is an important issue, which Africa has noted," Kikwete, who is leading the country's delegation to the conference, told the press.
The question whether the descendants of slavery should be compensated for the stolen labour of their ancestors will be a key component of the African presentation, he said.
Racism has its root in slavery, colonialism and apartheid, he added.

30 august 2001 07:50:00

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