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|Thursday, August 30, 2001, updated at 10:43(GMT+8)|
Arafat to Attend Anti-Racism Conference in S. AfricaPalestinian leader Yasser Arafat will lead a large delegation to attend the U.N. World Conference Against Racism, slated from August 31 to September 7 in Durban, South Africa, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday.
"The main purpose of the Palestinian participation in the conference is to expose the Israeli racist policies against the Palestinian people," said Nabil Shaath, Palestinian minister of international cooperation, in a phone interview with Radio Cairo from the Palestinian city of Gaza.
"The Palestinians will coordinate their stances with Syria to deny Israel the chance to delude peace-loving parties in the world," Shaath said, adding that the Palestinian side is working together with Egypt which has many experts in international law to prepare for the conference.
Around 12,000 representatives from the U.N. member states and non-governmental organizations, including 15 leaders, will take part in the anti-racism conference.
Arab countries have been demanding that what they call Israel's "racist policies" against the Palestinians in the occupied territories be debated at the Durban conference.
But their bid was resisted by the United States, who announced this week that Secretary of State Colin Powell would not attend the conference because of anti-Israeli language in the agenda program, in particular, in a draft declaration by non-governmental organizations.
More than 700 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed since the deadly Palestinian-Israeli clashes erupted last September.
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