US under fire for boycotting World Conference against Racism

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- The US government has come under fire after confirming that it will not be sending its Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to the World Conference against Racism because of concerns it has about anti-Israel statements contained in the agenda.
The US has yet to decide whether it would send a junior delegation to the conference, which begins in Durban on Friday.
Despite the snubbing, a top level US delegation consisting of 50 members of the Black Leadership Forum has already arrived in Durban to attend both an NGO forum and the conference.
The delegation includes Rev.
Jesse Jackson, former US ambassador to the UN Andrew Young and Joseph Lowery, leader of the forum.
The delegates have slammed the decision of the Bush administration not to attend the event, saying that those who left Africa as slaves are still suffering from the legacy.
Delegation leader Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich expressed her disappointment at the "irresponsible behaviour" of the US government.
South Africa's Foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma expressed her disappointment at the decision, but said she does not believe that Powell's absence would affect the outcome of the conference.
Dlamini-Zuma said the conference was about fighting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and "every person who comes here would have this in mind and therefore the conference would be a success".
She said the two previous UN world conferences against racism - also boycotted by the US - had achieved their objective despite America's absence.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said earlier Monday that she firmly believes the Durban conference could spring a historic breakthrough in the international fight against racism and secure a framework for dealing with past wrongs in order to build a better future.

28 august 2001 12:49:00

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