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US to boycott world racism conference at UN

Published: Wed, June 1, 2011 @ 4:45 p.m.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Obama administration today confirmed in a letter to a U.S. senator that it will boycott a world conference against racism at U.N. headquarters in September.

Joseph E. Macmanus, acting U.S. assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, wrote in the letter to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand that the United States will not participate in the 10-year commemoration of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism because the Durban process "included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism."

AP obtained a copy of the letter, sent to Gillibrand and other members of Congress.

Macmanus was responding to a letter the senator from New York had sent America's U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice asking her not to participate in the event.

"In December, we voted against the resolution establishing this event because the Durban process included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism, and we did not want to see that commemorated," Macmanus wrote.

He added that in 2009 the U.S. withdrew from the planning of the conference because it reaffirmed the 2001 Durban Declaration, "which unfairly singled out Israel and included language inconsistent with U.S. traditions of robust free speech."

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