EU rejects Ahmadinejad speechApril 21st, 2009 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS
Brussels, April 21 (DPA) The European Union (EU) rejects the claim by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel is a racist state, but most members will not abandon the UN conference where he made the claim, a joint statement said Tuesday.
The EU “rejects in the strongest terms” Ahmadinejad’s accusation, made at the opening of the so-called Durban II conference on racism in Geneva Monday, that Israel is a racist regime, the statement, drawn up by the Czech government, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said.
Five EU states - the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland - have already pulled out of the conference amidst fears that it could be taken over by UN members hostile to Israel.
But the 22 EU members who remain at the conference “have no outstanding difficulty of substance with the draft Outcome Document and are ready to give their consent to it during the adoption on Friday,” the statement said.
The conference opened on Monday and quickly descended into controversy as Ahmadinejad launched an impassioned attack on Israel — prompting a European walk-out in retaliation.
The row has caught the EU between the conflicting desires to take a stand against racism and to stand up against what some see as unfair targeting of Israel by the Muslim world.
Those member states who remain at the conference “expect (it) to be held in a spirit of mutual respect and dignity,” the statement said.
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