A UN conference on racism was hit by new boycotts by Western nations on Sunday amid concerns that the meeting will serve as a platform against Israel.
The outlook for Geneva conference, which starts Monday, was also thrown into doubt by the prospect of an opening day speech by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has stirred outrage by repeatedly calling the Holocaust a “myth”.
Australia and the Netherlands joined the US, Canada and Israel in boycotting the five-day Durban Review Conference, which is meant to take stock of progress in fighting racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
Calling the UN meeting a “tragic farce,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yossi Levy said: “Officially it is aimed at denouncing racism, but it has invited a Holocaust denier who has called for the destruction of Israel.”
Britain may attend
Britain is expected to attend the conference , a Foreign Office spokesman said. “We're watching how things develop. It's still our intention to attend," the spokesman said. He said Britain wanted the conference “to get a collective will to fight racism now” but was “under no illusions about the scale of this challenge.”