Pope hails Durban 2 conference, urges countries to take part

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday hailed this week's UN anti-racism conference and urged countries to join forces to eliminate intolerance, but he made no reference to the US boycott of the meeting. The conference beginning Monday in Geneva is an important initiative, the pope said, because "even today, despite the lessons of history, such deplorable phenomena take place." Benedict said he sincerely hoped that delegates who attend the conference work together, "with a spirit of dialogue and reciprocal acceptance, to put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance." Such an effort, Benedict said, would be "a fundamental step toward the affirmation of the universal value of the dignity of man and his rights."