U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the U.S. decided to boycott the “Durban 2” conference in Geneva because the draft for the summit's final declaration could include "hypocritical allegations" against Israel.
"I would love to be involved in a useful conference that addressed continuing issues of racism and discrimination around the globe," Obama said in Trinidad after attending the Summit of the Americas.
But, he said, the language of the draft declaration prepared for the conference "raised a whole set of objectionable provisions" and raised the risk of a repeat of the Durban Conference, "which became a session through which folks expressed antagonism toward Israel in ways that were often times completely hypocritical and counterproductive."
"We expressed in the run-up to this conference our concerns that if you adopted all of the language from 2001, that's not something we can sign up for," Obama said. “Our participation would have involved putting our imprimatur on something we just didn't believe in,” he added.
The U.S. said Saturday that it would boycott "with regret" the meeting in Geneva. Holland and Germany declared that they would join the boycott Sunday. Australia, Canada, Israel and Italy said earlier they would not attend.
"I am shocked and deeply disappointed by the United States's decision not to attend," said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who will be hosting the conference.
Besides criticizing Israel, the conference may adopt a resolution calling upon nations to outlaw criticism of Islam, Sharia law, and the founder of Islam, Mohammed.