Vatican will attend UN racism meeting despite Israel dispute
The Vatican said on Friday it would attend a U.N. conference on racism next month but hoped for a change in the wording of its final declaration.
The Vatican said on Friday it would attend a U.N. conference on racism next month but hoped for a change in the wording of its final declaration, which some countries view as censor to freedom of religion or speech.
"People go to conferences to discuss and debate," said the Vatican's chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi. "That doesn't mean we agree with the draft text of the final declaration as it is now."
Both Italy and the United States have said they will not attend over Israeli pressure.
Israel is calling for a boycott of the April 20-24 event but so far only the Jewish state and Canada have said they will not participate.
Iran and Us said that Arab nations planned to attack Israel over its massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1350 Palestinians, a third of them. They also object to sections of the final declaration they say would limit freedom of religion or speech.
Lombardi said the Vatican's representative in Geneva had "made it clear that the Vatican is opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether it is against an individual, a religion or a state".
US and Israel walked out of the first U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, to protest against efforts to pass a resolution comparing Zionism to racism.