UN, NGO and General News Round-UP

The return of the United States to UN talks on racism could prove pivotal to salvaging an international conference plagued by charges of Israel-bashing, human rights activists said on Feb. 17. The move reflects President Barack Obama's determination to restore the United States to an active role in human rights diplomacy after George W. Bush's more skeptical approach to the UN. Israel and Canada have announced they are boycotting the April 20-24 conference in Geneva, a follow-up to an acrimonious meeting in 2001, Reuters reported. Canada said the conference was likely to descend into anti-Semitism while Israel said it would be an "anti-Israel tribunal."

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