France's Macron to Boycott UN Racism Conference, Citing Antisemitism Concerns

Ten other countries, including Israel, have announced that they will boycott the UN conference, known as the Durban conference

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President Macron at a conference in France last week.
President Macron at a conference in France last week.Credit: Eric Gaillard / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron will stay away from a United Nations conference on racism next month because of concerns about antisemitism, his office said on Friday.

"Concerned by a history of anti-Semitic remarks made at the UN conference on racism, known as the Durban conference, the President of the Republic has decided that France will not participate in the follow-up conference to be held this year," it said.

The meeting in New York is being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, which resulted in the "Durban Declaration and Program of Action" against racism.

Macron's announcement follows Austria, Australia, the United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Canada, and Israel, none of which will attend the conference this year.

The conference became notorious for its antisemitic remarks and the boycott of the conference by representatives from Western countries, including the United States.

In 2009, the second Durban conference was held, at which then- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke and made anti-Israel statements as well as denied the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad's participation in the third Durban Conference in 2011 led to its boycott by 14 countries.

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