Ban slams forum boycott

SAD: Ban Ki-Moon. 20/04/2009. Pic. Keystone Salvatore Di Nolfi.  © AP
SAD: Ban Ki-Moon. 20/04/2009. Pic. Keystone Salvatore Di Nolfi. © AP

Geneva - UN chief Ban Ki-Moon opened a five-day conference on racism yesterday, saying he was "profoundly disappointed" at the boycotts by some Western countries while all forms of racism persist.

Geneva - UN chief Ban Ki-Moon opened a five-day conference on racism yesterday, saying he was "profoundly disappointed" at the boycotts by some Western countries while all forms of racism persist.

Ban also condemned those who might deny or minimise the Holocaust as the conference began in Geneva ahead of a scheduled speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later in the day.

"We dream of moving in a new direction yet too many of us cling to the past," said Ban.

"We speak of finding a new unity as times demand. Yet we remain weak and divided and stuck in old ways," he added.

"Some nations who by rights should be helping us forge a path to a better future are not here.

"Outside these halls, interest groups of many political and ideological stripes shout against one another in acrimony. They too should be with us here."

Poland yesterday joined countries such as the US, Israel, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and New Zealand in boycotting the conference over fears that it might degenerate into a forum for anti-Semitic views. - Sapa-AFP

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