Iran's president to attend UN racism meet
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend a United Nations conference against racism on 20 April in Geneva.GENEVA - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend a controversial United Nations conference against racism which starts on 20 April in Geneva, a UN spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
"To date, the number of presidents and vice-presidents is the following five -- East Timor, Togo, Iran and Montenegro at president level; the vice president of Zambia," said Marie Heuze, the UN's chief spokeswoman in Geneva.
Lesotho's prime minister, and foreign ministers from Egypt, Nigeria, Norway and South Africa, will also attend the Durban Review Conference, added Heuze.
In all, just over 35 countries confirmed their participation at the meeting, she said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the four-day meeting.
The conference is a follow-up to the World Conference against Racism which was held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, where the United States and Israel walked out amid charges that it became a forum for anti-Semitism.
Preparatory meetings leading up to this year's conference were troubled by threats of boycotts by the United States and various European states, in a dispute over the wording of a draft declaration largely on the same issue.
Several Jewish groups organised a ceremony outside the United Nations in Geneva to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day on 20 April.
Ahmadinejad, who stirred outrage for repeatedly calling the Holocaust a "myth" and for his anti-Israel comments, was scheduled to attend the opening of the conference on the same day.
AFP / Expatica