Obama defends boycott of racism conference

April 20th, 2009 - 2:36 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Port-of-Spain, April 20 (DPA) US President Barack Obama defended Washington’s decision to stay away from the UN conference on racism, accusing the organisers Sunday of hypocrisy in setting the agenda.
In remarks at the end of Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Obama said the US was staying way because of the “hypocritical” allegations which the organisers were making towards Israel.

Obama said he supported the UN and wanted to help strengthen it. But the organisers refused to drop the allegations about Israeli racism, making it impossible for the US to attend.

The conference starts Monday in Geneva. The US had already announced Saturday it would boycott the meeting, with other countries also joining in, amid controversy over the attendance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Obama also spoke on another issue in current US-Iranian relations at Port-of-Spain when he said he was “very concerned” about the fate of the US-Iranian journalist, Roxana Saberi, who had been sentenced to eight years’ prison by a Tehran court for allegedly spying for the US.

Obama said he was convinced that Saberi, 31, was not a spy. Earlier, the White House had called the Iranian ruling on Saberia a “setback” in Obama’s efforts to reach understanding with Tehran.

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