Saturday, October 22, 2005

"US official heads to France for talks on UNESCO convention"

Read the full Yahoo! News story.

"A top US official said she would meet her French counterpart and UNESCO officials in Paris as part of a diplomatic effort to prevent ratification of UNESCO's cultural diversity convention.

"The United States suffered a resounding diplomatic defeat Thursday when an overwhelming majority of UNESCO's 191 member-states approved the convention to protect and promote cultural diversity, which Washington fears will hit sales of American movies and music.

"'We want to try to prevent people from ratifying it,' said Kristin Silverberg, a top US State Department official for relations with UN bodies, following talks with Italian officials in Rome.

"'The biggest thing we can do is get countries to agree not to misuse it, that they not cite it in the Hong Kong talks in support of cultural exceptions,' said Silverberg, referring to the next major meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) "Doha Round" negotiations in December.

"Silverberg said she would take Washington's grievances to UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura in a meeting in Paris on Monday."

Kristen Silverberg was recently appointed Assistant Secretary of State, and is in charge of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. (Read her biography.) Prior to her current assignment, Ms. Silverberg worked in the White House. She is a lawyer, and served as a policy advisor on the 2000 presidential campaign in Austin, Texas.

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