Barbados To Form Links With State Of Palestine, But No Changes In Relationship With Israel.

Photo: Pixabay. A dockside with yachts in Bridgetown, Barbados.
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Barbados has announced its decision to officially recognise Palestine as a state, becoming the 11th member of CARICOM to take that step.

“How can we say we want a two-state solution if we do not recognise Palestine as a State,” Foreign Minister Kerrie Symmonds said in a statement Friday.

The island nation’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kerrie Symmonds, announced this today, following the media launch to highlight the activities for the 166th Regular Session of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Mr. Symmonds stated that Cabinet had “made the determination that the time is ripe for us to have a formal diplomatic recognition of the State of Palestine”.

The statement does not, however, make any judgment as to where the national borders of Palestine lie, or what territory it includes.

He, however, stressed that the acknowledgment of Palestine as a State does not affect the relationship Barbados has with Israel, which includes technical cooperation in agriculture and water management.

“Since August 29 of 1967, Barbados has had a formal recognition of the State of Israel, and the relationship between the two countries has been an exceptionally good one. We have benefitted tremendously through technical cooperation with the State of Israel in a number of fields, not the least of which is our efforts at food security and agriculture, and also assisting us with the increasing drought challenges and water-related challenges that we have had,” Minister Symmonds said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister stressed that Barbados has always maintained at the United Nations that there should be a two-state solution.

“But ironically, despite having said to the world that we would like to see a two-state solution, Barbados itself has never recognised the State of Palestine. And therefore, there is an incongruity and inconsistency because ‘how can we say we want a two-state solution if we do not recognise Palestine as a State’?

“So, I have taken to Cabinet the necessary paper in order to allow us to formally recognise, I think, an error that we have made through the years and to correct that. And now, we have formally reached out to the State of Palestine to signal our intention to formally recognise them as a State,” Mr. Symmonds said.

He disclosed that Barbados had formal talks with the State of Palestine in September last year, before the start of the Israel-Hamas Gaza Strip dispute.

“So, it preceded that event. But I want to say very clearly that since that time, Barbados, along with CARICOM, has expressed its unconditional disappointment and dissatisfaction about the humanitarian crisis and the disproportionality of the Israeli response. We believe fervently that this is now going way too far…. We, therefore, join with those countries who have already called today for there to be a de-escalation of the antagonism.

“I really want to urge that reason resumes its seat, a clearheadedness and a coolheadedness prevail, and that better judgement and use of good discretion be relied upon in an effort to stabilise and ratchet down the tensions in that part of the world,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stated.

Source: Barbados GIS.

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