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U.S. Will Withdraw From U.N. Racism Conference

Aired September 3, 2001 - 13:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The United States to leave the UN conference on racism.

Let's check in with our Andrea Koppel who is at the State Department with those late developments for us. Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Donna, that's absolutely right. Shortly we'll be getting a statement from the State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, announcing the fact that the U.S. Delegation that's in Durban, South Africa, right now is leaving. It's leaving immediately. A senior State Department official tells me that the decision was made this morning in a conference call between Secretary of State Powell and the delegates, the U.S. delegates, on the ground.

The reason that the U.S. Delegation is leaving, according to this senior State Department official, the language the U.S. considers to be offensive. This is criticism of Israel, one of the United States closest allies, calling Israel an apartheid state, saying it's responsible for a holocaust involving the Arab people, especially the Palestinians. Things of that nature, Donna.

They were unable to get this language removed from a final declaration that's supposed to be issued on Friday. And even though the U.S. delegation only arrived on Friday when the UN conference got underway, they are leaving now after four days, specifically because of this -- what the U.S. and Israel consider to be an offensive language, criticizing -- essentially singling out Israel in this final document. Donna.

KELLEY: OK. Andrea Koppel at the State Department there. Thanks very much. We will be going for a live report to that conference in just a couple of minutes as well.

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