BERLIN – A diplomat at the Polish Embassy in Germany’s capital told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the Polish government will not attend the UN-sponsored Durban III anti-racism conference on Thursday in New York because the event could be used to promote racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

Jacek Biegala, a spokesman for the Polish Embassy in Berlin, told the Post that Poland’s government “will definitively not participate in Durban III,” adding that “we fear that the 10-year commemoration event will be used to foster opinions and positions that are the opposite of fighting racism and intolerance.”

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He said that the fight against racism contains efforts to combat anti-Semitism. Biegala said that Poland will continue to oppose racism and intolerance abroad and domestically through its activities and NGOs.

Poland’s decision to boycott the UN parley follows France’s decision over the weekend to skip the Durban III event, making Poland the the 14th country to pull the plug on its participation. The other countries who have announced they plan to stay away from Durban III are Britain, Bulgaria, Australia, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, and the United States.

Poland left the Durban II conference in 2009 because of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s diatribe against Israel and his denial of the Holocaust at the Geneva event.

Meanwhile, Gabriela Butu, a spokeswoman for the Romanian Embassy in Berlin, told the Post on Monday that Romania still plans to participate in Durban III. When asked why their governments are slated to take part in a conference tainted by charges of anti-Semitism and racism, according to the foreign ministries in France and England, the governments of Denmark, Hungary, Finland and Greece did not immediately respond to Post e-mail queries

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