- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2001

DURBAN, South Africa (Agence France-Presse) — The United States sent two officials to take seats yesterday at the United Nations conference on racism in spite of the absence from the event by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. delegation said.
"This morning in our official seat at the plenary session were the following people, John Blaney … and Craig Kuehl," said Judy Moon, spokeswoman for the U.S. delegation.
Mr. Blaney is the alternate head of the U.S. delegation at the conference and charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, while Mr. Kuehl is consul-general in Durban, she said.
Mr. Powell is not attending the conference because the U.S. government considers language on Israel in draft documents to be "offensive."
However, Washington has sent a team of officials led by Michael Southwick, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, to Durban in the hope that it will succed in diluting the language and thus allow a lower-level U.S. delegation to take part.
"Ambassador Southwick was not in the delegation's seat at the opening of the plenary, but he was in the building," Miss Moon said.
"We are delegates," she said, but added that the manner in which the delegates would participate would depend on progress on the language changes.
She said the team was working "very hard" to try to find a resolution.

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