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Bush administration arrogance reaches new heights

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US Shuns Rivals at Food Conference

Meanwhile, the Bush administration has announced it won’t hold any talks with representatives from Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Iran at the summit. US Agricultural Secretary Ed Schafer said the countries are welcome at the meeting but would not be recognized.

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Ed Schafer: “First of all, if their presence here overshadows the work of this esteemed body, I guess that will be up to the people in this room, including you. So, you know, that will make the difference here, what the news is. So we ask that you keep the focus on the work that’s being done by the body. Nobody from the US delegation will be meeting with the countries you mentioned, and we’re glad they’re here. We appreciate the opportunity for dialogue, but it is our position that we will not meet with them.”

Meanwhile, other 'western' leaders expressed outrage at the presence of Robert Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Incidentally, Mugabe's presence at UN summits is an exception to the EC ban on him:

European Commission


From time to time there are meetings in Europe or elsewhere which you can’t stop somebody going to. There’s a general agreement, for example, that if there’s a discussion on human rights or democracy or if there’s an important UN conference then in these sort of circumstances you let people go. But Mr Mugabe is at present, I think, in Cuba and is proposing to fly back through Madrid, and he won’t be able to stop off and go and stay at his favourite four or five-star hotel while he’s there. These aren’t the most major things that the European Union could do, but they are things which I think will make a bit of a difference, will make people understand the extent of the world’s disapproval for what has become a particularly nasty regime.

Paradoxically, the US probably won't have a problem talking to President Lula of Brazil, a left-wing ally of Chavez in Latin America. The reason, of course, is the agreement of the US and Brazil on biofuel which is a far more important potential cause of world-wide hunger than Mugabe, however much of a thug he is with his own people. First world leaders' apparent outrage regarding the presence of localised dictators (or indeed a democratically-elected leader such as Chavez) at the FAO summit reflects their obscene hypocrisy. First world military powers and their clients murder many times more innocent people around the world than these so called evil leaders put together. It is true of invasions and bombardments but also of agricultural and trade practices.