Three Caribbean countries abstain on Palestine

sherieholder, sherieholder@nationnews.com

Added 30 November 2012

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 30, CMC – Three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries abstained from voting when the United Nations General Assembly Thursday endorsed an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite intense opposition from the United States and Israel. The vote was 138 delegates in favour of the measure, nine against and 41 abstentions. The official records of the voting showed that The Bahamas, Barbados and Haiti were among the 41 abstentions while the other independent CARICOM countries like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago voted in favour of the resolution. Jamaica said it voted in favour of the resolution based on a “firm commitment to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East region.  “Such a peace could only be brought about by a negotiated settlement,” said the island’s UN Ambassador, Raymond Wolfe. He said Jamaica sought a balanced approach to the issue, which recognized, among other things, Israel’s right to exist.  In its view, Jamaica said the granting of Non-Member Observer State status to Palestine was on the same level as the status afforded to the Holy See delegation, noting that it was not equivalent to membership in the United Nations. The resolution elevates the status of the Palestine from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state," the same category as the Vatican, which Palestinians hope will provide new leverage in their dealings with Israel. Its leaders had been working with dozens of supporting nations to develop a formal draft, enlisting the backing of European countries such as France and Spain. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the move, which many call symbolic, represents a "last chance to save the two-state solution." It comes on the heels of an eight-day conflict that raged between Israel and Hamas fighters, where a series of airstrikes and rocket launches drew international attention and threatened regional stability.  

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