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LIVINGSTONE URGED TO CALL BACK GLA REPRESENTATIVE FROM RACISM CONFERENCE

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Conservatives in the Greater London Assembly today called upon Ken Livingstone to call back his representative, Lee...
Conservatives in the Greater London Assembly today called upon Ken Livingstone to call back his representative, Lee Jasper, from the United Nations racism conference in South Africa. Brian Coleman, Conservative equalities spokesman and GLA member for Barnet and Camden, made his call after a walkout by the US and Israeli delegations over moves to brand Israel racist. Mr Coleman said:

'I utterly condemn racism of any kind, but this conference is fast becoming a farce. As a result I urge Ken Livingstone to recall his representative, Lee Jasper, from South Africa. It is simply unacceptable to say that Zionism is racist.

'This event should have been about tackling the very serious issues of racism and xenophobia, but unfortunately it has made the news because a few countries seem obsessed with drafting statements that are filled with hateful language. This is exactly what this conference was meant to be stopping.'

Notes

The joint withdrawal, which several Western governments are almost certain to follow, virtually dooms the conference to irrelevance. Conceived as an historic opportunity to address universal problems of discrimination, the meeting instead has foundered on the single, bitter issue of Israeli-Palestinian relations. European delegates have been working to draft a 'completely new text' on the Middle East conflict.

In a statement, US secretary of state Colin Powell said that it was impossible to fight racism by drafting statements containing 'hateful language' and by suggesting that 'apartheid exists in Israel or that singles out only one country in the world, Israel, for censure and abuse'.

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