US slammed for withdrawing from WCAR

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- The US decision to withdraw from the ongoing World Conference Against Racism in Durban over critical comments against Israel has drawn sharp criticism from host country South Africa.
The US and Israel cited the vexed question of equating Zionism with racism, which had dogged the pre-Conference meetings, as the reason for their withdrawal.
In his reaction, South African President Thabo Mbeki described the withdrawal as an error of judgement even worse than the decision by several Western countries to send a low-level delegation to Durban.
The South African government said it viewed the withdrawal of the US or any other delegation as "unfortunate and unnecessary".
"It will be unfortunate if a perception were to develop that the US withdrawal from the conference is merely a red-herring demonstrating an unwillingness to confront the real issues posed by racism in the US and globally," South African government spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said.
He said the South African government believed the Conference would continue in the spirit it had been conducted "thus far, a melting pot of a number of perspectives".
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson also criticised the US government saying it had "missed a great moment to address world poverty".
He said the US government had used the Middle East issue as a tactic to avoid discussing the issues of reparations, slavery and the slave trade raised by Africans.
Washington had warned it would boycott the Conference over Zionism and reparation questions.

03 september 2001 21:32:00




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