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UN World Conference against Racism

Volume 489: debated on Friday 20 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the decision of the Italian government to withdraw from the United Nations Durban 2 conference; and if he will make a statement. (264330)

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini announced on 5 March 2009 that Italy would not participate in negotiations on the draft outcome document for the Durban Review Conference.

Italy would, however, continue to follow the process and reconsider its position if EU red lines were respected.

The Government have on several occasions expressed its view on the Durban Review Conference, the follow-up to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. We want the conference to forge a collective will to fight against racism in all its forms, in all countries in the world. It should not be seen as an opportunity to press unrelated political interests and issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the withdrawal of governments from the United Nations Durban 2 Conference; and if he will make a statement. (264675)

Canada and Israel have formally withdrawn from the Durban Review Conference. The United States and Italy announced that they would not take part in negotiations on the draft document that was under negotiation, and set conditions for their re-engagement.

This document has now been superseded by an updated version, which was issued on 17 March 2009.

The Government have expressed a consistent view on the Durban Review Conference. We want the conference to forge a collective will to fight against racism in all its forms, in all parts of the world. It should not be seen as an opportunity to press unrelated political interests and issues.