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article imageUS and Australia not to attend racism conference

By Richard van der Draay     Apr 19, 2009 in Politics
WASHINGTON - The United States will not be present at a United Nations conference about racism next week in the Swiss city of Geneva.
A spokesperson for the White House made the announcement on Saturday.
According to the spokesperson the American administration has a problem with the text that serves as the basis for the conference. The document was drawn up in 2001 in the South-African city of Durban. The delegation from Washington left that conference early after an attempt by Arab countries to classify Zionism as racism.
All references to Israel have now been deleted from the text but the US are not happy with the text that ‘in its entirety still endorses the Durham declaration’, according to the spokesperson.
Australia has also stated that its representatives will not appear at the conference. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Sunday that his county cannot trust that at the summit there won’t be any anti-Semitic or offensive declarations.
The Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen, also said that he will not take part in the meeting. The only head of state that has said to attend to conference in Geneva is the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The European Union is still doubtful as to whether it will attend. EU-president the Czech Republic had convened a meeting for Sunday evening to discuss the standpoint of the Union.
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