France to Boycott UN Durban IV Conference, Citing Antisemitism Concerns
i24 News – France will join other major Western powers and Israel in boycotting a UN anti-racism conference next month over concerns about “antisemitic statements” at past editions, the presidential office said on Friday.
The follow-up meeting of the Durban Conference, named after the South African city where the UN’s anti-racism conference was held in 2001, is scheduled to bring together world leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September.
But the format has been controversial since its inception, with critics led by Israel charging that the first edition in Durban was tarnished by virulent and undisguised antisemitism.
Several countries, including France, also boycotted follow-up meetings in 2009 and 2011.
President Emmanuel Macron “has decided that France will not take part in the follow-up conference due to take place this year as he is concerned by anti-Semitic statements made within the Durban Conference,” his office said in a statement.
“France will continue to fight against all forces of racism and will be watching to make sure that the Durban follow-up conference is held in accordance with the founding principles of the United Nations,” it said.
The United States, the UK, Australia, Israel and numerous other European countries have already announced they are boycotting this year’s meeting.
“Following historic concerns regarding anti-Semitism, the UK has decided not to attend the UN’s Durban Conference anniversary event,” the British foreign ministry said in a statement.