Draft for 'Durban II' meeting drops Israel criticism

By
March 17, 2009 19:42

 
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Muslim-backed references to 'defamation of religion' and Israel have been dropped from a draft being prepared for next month's world racism meeting, United Nations officials said on Tuesday. The draft now speaks only of concern about the "negative stereotyping of religions" and does not single out Israel for criticism. Muslim countries had demanded free speech be limited to prevent criticism of Islam and other faiths. They also wanted to take Israel to task for its treatment of Palestinians. Israel and Canada have said that they will boycott the April 20-25 meeting in Geneva. The United States and Italy said that they would not attend unless countries committed to a balanced declaration. The European Union warned it may stay away unless Muslim countries back down.

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