France to boycott UN anti-racism convention

Macron joins a rising listing of Western international locations to boycott the occasion, saying the choice is because of ‘anti-Semitic statements’ at earlier editions.

French President Emmanuel Macron will boycott a United Nations convention on the struggle in opposition to racism subsequent month over issues about “anti-Semitic statements” at earlier editions, the presidency stated on Friday.

The follow-up assembly of the Durban Conference, named after the South African metropolis the place the primary version was held in 2001, is scheduled to deliver collectively world leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September.

But the format has been controversial since its inception, with critics led by Israel charging that the primary version in Durban was tarnished by virulent and undisguised anti-Semitism.

Several international locations, together with France, additionally boycotted follow-up conferences in 2009 and 2011.

Canada, Israel, the UK, the United States and quite a few European international locations have already introduced they’re boycotting this yr’s assembly.

The French presidency stated in a press release that Macron “has decided that France will not take part in the follow-up conference due to take place this year as he is concerned by anti-Semitic statements made within the Durban Conference”.

The first Durban Conference, from August 31 to September 8, 2001, was marked by deep divisions on the problems of anti-Semitism, colonialism and slavery.

Western international locations imagine that criticism of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories ceaselessly veered into open anti-Semitism.

The United States and Israel walked out of the convention in protest in opposition to the tone of the assembly, together with over plans to incorporate condemnations of Zionism within the ultimate textual content.

At the 2009 convention, a speech by Iran’s then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a brief walkout by many European delegates.

“France will continue to fight against all forces of racism and will be watching to make sure that the Durban follow-up conference is held in accordance with the founding principles of the United Nations,” the French presidency stated.

Macron has promised to struggle in opposition to anti-Semitism in all its kinds and final yr warned of “the unbearable resurgence of anti-Semitism in our Europe”.

The authorities has in latest days expressed concern over anti-Semitic slogans at protests in opposition to COVID-19 restrictions.

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