Germany's government says the country will boycott this week's U.N. racism conference out of concern that it could be "abused as a platform for other interests."

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday that he made the decision after consulting with other European Union nations, and he urged those attending the conference to "stand up for the effective fight against racism and ethnic discrimination."

Germany joined the United States, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Israel and Italy in boycotting the conference out of concern that it could be used by Muslim countries to criticize Israel and to limit free speech when it comes to criticizing their religion.