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AHeneen
04-19-2009, 10:51 PM
France to attend 'Durban II' racism summit
France24 (includes video) (http://www.france24.com/en/20090420-ahmadinejad-durban-geneva-boycott-racism)

MONDAY 20 APRIL 2009
By SHONA BHATTACHARYYA

AFP - EU states were split Sunday on whether to follow a US boycott of a controversial UN conference on racism in Geneva, where Iran's president is expected to launch a verbal onslaught on Israel.

Germany became the latest country to announce it would not be attending the five-day Durban Review Conference, joining Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States. Nice to see we're not alone.

But it did hold out the possibility of joining the event later in the week.

France, on the other hand, will attend, said a source close to President Nicolas Sarkozy's office.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Geneva Sunday, one of the few heads of state attending.

Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and questioned the Holocaust as a "myth," is to address the gathering at around 3:00 pm Monday (1300 GMT).

Earlier Sunday Ahmadinejad -- who is seeking re-election in June -- was quoted by Iran's state broadcaster as saying "the Zionist ideology and regime are the flag bearers of racism."

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yossi Levy denounced the event as a "tragic farce."

The Geneva meeting is meant to take stock of progress in fighting racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance since the controversial World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, eight years ago.

But Levy said: "Officially it is aimed at denouncing racism, but it has invited a Holocaust denier who has called for the destruction of Israel."

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said they could not be sure the conference would be used "as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views."

US President Barack Obama said anti-Israeli language that was "oftentimes completely hypocritical and counterproductive" in the draft final communique had been the red line for his administration.

European Union governments were divided over whether or not to attend. :eek:

Belgium called for countries to attend after the Netherlands vowed to stay away because it feared the event would be abused "for political ends and attacks on the West."

[snip]

Their concern was that the conference would be "hijacked for other interests, as was the case with the previous one in 2001," said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a statement Sunday.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz met Ahmadinejad in Geneva late Sunday, his office said and raised the issue of jailed US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi. Since when did the Swiss have any balls?

[snip]

Monday, as well as being the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth, also marks the start of Holocaust commemoration events, including a ceremony in Geneva attended by leading Jewish figures including Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel. The same day of Ahmadinejad's speech in the same city!? This could get interesting...

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said she was "shocked and deeply disappointed" by Washington's decision to stay away.

Campaigners Human Rights Watch said the boycotting states were "turning their backs" on victims of racism.

Bleda
04-19-2009, 11:34 PM
[qoute]Campaigners Human Rights Watch said the boycotting states were "turning their backs" on victims of racism.[/quote]

So Jews aren't worthy of being defended against racist attacks?

noonwitch
04-20-2009, 10:19 AM
A conference to discuss ways to end racism just wouldn't be complete without a whackjob holocaust denier. Maybe the UN will remember to invite him to the next women's rights conference.


As much as I support efforts to end racism, I think the conference would do better if Iran sent someone else to represent their nation.