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UK confirms withdrawal from World Conference on Racism

16-09-2011

London, (IRNA): Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed Thursday that the UK government was withdrawing from this month's UN event to commemorate 10th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism due to its criticism of Israel.

The decision, first leaked to the Jewish Chronicle, comes after the 2001 Durban conference focused specifically on Israeli treatment of the Palestinians and attempted to reintroduce a 1975 UN resolution equating Zionism with racism.

“That conference, and the anti-Semitic atmosphere in which it was held, was a particularly unpleasant and divisive chapter in the UN’s history. It is not an event that should be celebrated,” Hague said.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the decision not to attend followed the personal intervention by Prime Minister David Cameron, saying he “did not want the UK to be seen to celebrate the anniversary of an event associated with anti-Semitism.”

Britain also walked out of a review conference in Geneva two years ago during the opening speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which also accused Israel of being racist.

The withdrawal by Britain comes after the US has already announced that it would boycott the New York event to what it said would commemorate “ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism'.

Hague insisted that the British government “remains fully committed to tackling all forms of racism, both domestically and internationally.”

The United Nations, he said, is the right place to discuss these important issues, but “in a serious way that delivers genuine progress.”

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