US to boycott 'Durban II' United Nations racism meeting

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April 19, 2009 00:27

The Obama administration will "with regret" boycott a UN conference on racism next week over objectionable language in the meeting's final document that could single out Israel for criticism and restrict free speech, the State Department said Saturday. The decision follows weeks of furious internal debate and will likely please Israel and Jewish groups that lobbied against US participation. But the move upset human rights advocates and some in the African-American community who hoped that President Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, would send an official delegation. The administration had wanted to attend the April 20-25 meeting in Geneva, although it warned in late February it would not go unless significant changes were made to the draft text.


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