Germany announces boycott of UN racism summit

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Germany said Friday it will not participate at the UN's upcoming Durban III conference against racism over concerns that the talks could be marred by anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The summit, set for New York later this month, commemorates 10 years since the 2001 Durban Declaration conference that was marked by bitter disputes and walkouts over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.

"We cannot rule out that the Durban conference in New York will be tainted by anti-Semitic comments as was the case on previous occasions," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a Friday statement.

"That is why Germany will not participate in this event. This is also an expression of our responsibility, particularly with respect to Israel," he added.

Germany also stayed clear of the Durban II summit in Geneva in 2009, which Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used as a platform to launch a virulent attack on Israel.

In June, the United States, which also boycotted Durban II, announced it would not attend Durban III, citing similar worries about anti-Semitism and what the State Department termed "displays of intolerance".

Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel and Italy have also announced their intention to boycott Durban III.

© 2011 AFP

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