Source : http://www.cnsnews.com
Obama’s Policy Shift on Durban Racism Conference Draws Concern, Criticism.
(CNSNews.com) – When diplomats meet at the United Nations in Geneva on Monday to continue hammering out plans for an international conference on racism in the spring, representatives of the United States will take part for the first time in years.
The major policy shift, announced by the State Department over the weekend, is the strongest indication yet that the Obama administration could end up participating in the Durban Review Conference, also known as “Durban II.”
Doing so would undercut a campaign calling on democracies to boycott the event, which opponents say will be used by Islamic states and their allies to attack Israel, undermine Western counter-terrorism initiatives and endanger free speech.
A decision to stay away by President Obama would provide cover for other Western countries to do so; U.S. attendance, conversely, is expected to have the opposite effect. Currently Israel and Canada alone have formally announced they will not take part.
Obama campaigned on a platform of re-engaging with the U.N. after years of chilly relations between the world body and Washington, and his newly appointed ambassador, Susan Rice, is reportedly advocating strongly for participation in Durban II.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, pledged to “lead a boycott of the conference should current efforts to rein in the forces of hatred fail,” describing the issue as “a test of resolve” for the next president.
The statement released by State Department spokesman Robert Wood on Saturday night stressed that a decision on actual participation in Durban II would be made at a later date, “depending on the results that we see from the negotiating process.”Read »