March 5, 2009

Italy pulls out of UN racism conference

Soon after Israel, Canada and the United States, Italy decided today to withdraw its delegation from the preparatory negotiations ahead of the upcoming United Nations World Conference Against Racism known as the Durban Review Conference, which is a follow-up to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

The conference is due to take place in Geneva on April 20-24. Italian Foreign minister Franco Frattini said that the decision is due to “aggressive and anti-Semitic statements” in the draft of the event’s final document, which he described as “totally unacceptable.” Ministry spokesman Maurizio Massari confirmed Frattini’s statements and said Rome would not participate in the conference unless the document was changed.