France participated in the Durban II gathering two years ago but its delegates and other European Union representatives left the room when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel “totally racist.”
"This conference gave rise to an unacceptable diversion of the principles and commitments in the fight against racism. For this reason, and as pointed out by several of its European Union partners, France will not participate in the commemoration of this event," the French foreign ministry stated.
"France reaffirms its commitment to the universality of human rights and its determination to fight against racism,” it added. "France is committed to the pursuit of collective efforts in the UN …to effectively fight against all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racial discrimination."
The United States, Israel, Britain, Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy and the Czech Republic, Germany and Australia already have said they will boycott Durban III, 10 years after the first Durban meeting in South Africa.
Poland, temporary head of the European Union, also has said it will not attend Durban III. However, Finland, Denmark and Romania are leaning towards attending the conference, whose agenda focused on alleged Israeli "Apartheid."