Austria withdraws from Durban III
Okay, I have to admit that I am surprised by this one. Austria has decided to withdraw
from the Durban III conference.
Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Schallenberg told the Post that “we have no intention of participating in Durban III in September.” Austria has now joined the anti-Durban group of countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Australia, the United States, Canada, and Israel.
Schallenberg said that Austria has” doubts about the content and direction of the conference” and that is the reason for Austria's decision to skip the event.
Austria participated in Durban I in 2001 and the 2009 Durban II conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger , from the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), has now, with his decision to boycott Durban III, placed Austria as the first German-speaking country into the anti-Durban camp.
In response to Austria's decision to pull the plug on its participation in Durban III, Israel's Ambassador to Austria, Aviv Shir-On, told the Post on Wednesday, “ I was pleased to hear that our position on the Durban III process was accepted by the Austrian government.” He added that “not only Israel sees the issue (Durban III) as problematic,“ citing Canada, the United States , the Netherlands, Italy and other countries that are staying away from the Durban conference.
Shir-On said “Israel was singled out and bashed at the first Durban conference” and the countries at Durban I were “not interested in fighting racism but criticizing Israel.” He said that does not mean that the “basic of idea of fighting racism in all its forms is bad” but the Durban process has steered away from its anti-racism mission.
“I welcome the Austrian decision and that they realize this is a problem,” said Aviv Shir-On.
And the Swiss Jewish community would like Switzerland to be next. Read the whole thing
Labels: Austria, Durban III