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Saturday, 4 August, 2001, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
New warning on racism conference
A former Australian foreign minister, Gareth Evans, has warned that the forthcoming World Conference Against Racism - due to take place in South Africa at the end of this month - should not be derailed by calls to put Zionism on the agenda.

Mr Evans is among more than 20 international personalities who have been asked to give their support to the conference by the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

Speaking to a group of them in Geneva, Mr Evans said it would be irresponsible to focus on one issue when there were larger matters to address.

He also criticised the Unitd States, which has already threatened to boycott the conference if the isssues of Zionism, and compensation for victims of slavery, are on the agenda.

Preparatory talks for the conference will continue in Geneva for another week.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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