The Palestinians want Guyana, Suriname to lobby undecided Caricom members to support their bid for statehood

Dear Editor,

The issue of Palestinian statehood being brought to the United Nations General Assembly this September is of great concern to Guyana, a member of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People since 1975. Guyana’s President Jagdeo and the opposition party of Guyana, the PNC have condemned the occupation in the boldest terms and support a sovereign Palestinian state.  Palestinian right to exercise self-determination has been a cornerstone of Guyana’s foreign policy since its independence. The Palestinian leadership in East Jerusalem is banking on Guyana and Suriname to lobby undecided Caricom members to solidly support their bid for statehood.

Last week in Kazakhstan, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr Eshangholu, held a bilateral meeting with the Surinamese delegation in which the talks focused on supporting OIC programmes and projects, mobilizing support for recognition of the Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly in September, and improving bilateral cooperation between the OIC and Suriname, according to an OIC news release.

Some Caricom members that are undecided on the issue are Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbados.  Israel and its supporters in the United States have launched a diplomatic war to convince them and a group of nations in the Pacific to go against the Palestinian resolution in the General Assembly this fall.  It is a well-established fact that the United States will use its veto to block the move in the Security Council. Washington has been lobbying some undecided EU members, Colombia, and some tiny Pacific nations to vote against the Palestinian resolution at the UN this fall.

At the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Bali a few weeks ago, the 120-nation bloc expressed strong support for an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. But Thailand, Burma, Colombia, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and Singapore were among the 30 NAM members whose positions on the two-state solution are still undecided. The majority of countries in Africa, Asia, South and Central America will back the Palestinians at the UN. Most of these countries since 1988 have recognized a Palestinian state.  Thailand most likely will support Palestine at the UN because Bangkok wants to consolidate ties with the Islamic World and does not want the OIC to internationalize its local Muslim problem.

Wikileaks revealed that the Palestinians have been weak and at the mercy of the Israelis in negotiating since the Oslo Accords. Under great pressure, they have conceded much during negotiations; on the other hand, the Israelis have conceded nothing.

It is in this backdrop that the Palestinians are now unwilling to concede more and most likely will go to the UN General Assembly this September to seek statehood despite fierce US pressure.

Yours faithfully,
Ray Chickrie

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