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Nigeria Masterweb News Report

    US May Boycott Racism Conference

    (Sunday, July 29, 2001)

    By Chief Charles O. Okereke, Nigeria Masterweb

    President George W. Bush Mary Robinson
        President George W. Bush                                Mary Robinson              

    The United States has again threatened to boycott next month's United Nations conference on racism in Durban, South Africa. The Washington Post reports a senior State Department official making this disclosure. The U.S. has been strongly opposed to reparations for slavery and Zionism, and for both to be discussed as a form of racism at the conference. The Washington Post says the Bush administration will present its position to dozens of ambassadors and seek support for keeping the two topics off the conference agenda. The State Department official is quoted as saying no-one should be surprised if they arrive in Durban and find the U.S. missing.

    In another development, a United Nations official says the organisation's racism conference could fail next month if some Arab countries insist that Zionism should be recognised as racism. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson says it is inappropriate to reopen the issue in the context of the conference which is to be held in Durban, South Africa. She says she had raised the issue during recent talks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Negotiations on a draft declaration and programme of action for adoption at the end of the conference resume in Geneva July 30, and are scheduled to run until August 10.

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