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Will the United States attend Durban II? As Anne Bayefsky lamented, It’s been hard to get an answer from the State Department. Last week United States Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad addressed the question in remarks to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations:

Unfortunately, the UN General Assembly, both in the Third Committee and the Fifth Committee, resolved to convene a Durban Review Conference in 2009 with preparatory work done by the Human Rights Council.

The U.S. voted against these resolutions, because we do not believe there will be a meaningful review of any of the problematic aspects of the original Durban Conference, and that therefore the expenditure of any UN funds on preparatory meetings or the “review” conference itself would be a colossal and irresponsible waste of such funds.

In fact, in December 2007, the U.S. voted against the entire UN budget in part because of our staunch opposition to the inclusion of funding for Durban II.

As we stated in our explanation of vote in December, “We could not support this budget resolution because this budget today contains funding to what we refer colloquially to as the “Durban 2 Conference.” Our political sentiments have been clearly expressed on this revisiting of an event that was noxious to my country and a disgrace in the International Community.”

Because of these views, the United States has declined since August to participate in the preparatory events of this Conference. We and Israel have both sent note takers to ensure that we have an accurate record of the proceedings and that we don’t rely on press reports to know what is being planned, but we have made clear that the United States is not participating in the process and we have no plans to do so.

We will not participate unless it is proven that the conference will not be used as a platform for anti-Semitic behavior.

Ambassador Khalilzad added:

Because of our concerns, the United States will withhold a portion of its 2008 funding for the United Nations – specifically, an amount equivalent to the U.S. share of the Human Rights Council budget, including amounts that would pay for the HRC-administered preparatory process for a Durban II conference tentatively scheduled for 2009.

While the statement does not provide a straightforward expression of regrets for our nonattendance, it lays down a benchmark that is a beacon of clarity and that should rule out our attendance.

Via Atlas Shrugs.

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