Israeli Envoy Cancels Visit with Arias

February 29, 2008
A month after Costa Rica recognized the Palestinian territories as a state, Israel canceled a meeting planned for this week between President Oscar Arias and the Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Majalli Whbee.
“We would like to express our disappointment over this regretful decision of the government of Costa Rica to establish full diplomatic relations with ‘the state of Palestine,’” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel told the Associated Press. “This act of Costa Rica totally contradicts the traditional friendship that characterized its relations with Israel.”
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said he was trying to reschedule the meeting.
The American Jewish Committee, an advocacy group based in New York, also criticized Costa Rica’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state.
“The timing of this decision is both odd and painful,” the group’s executive director, David A. Harris, said in a statement this week. “Odd because there is not yet a Palestinian state. Painful, he said, because Costa Rica had appeared to be a loyal ally of Israel.
Christian Guillermet, policy director at the Foreign Ministry, said the recognition would help level the playing field in negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian governments. The Palestinian Authority has diplomatic representation in about 100 countries.
“We came to this decision after much reflection,” Stagno said earlier this month. “It could displease certain sectors, and that is understandable and logical.”
 
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