J’lem woos undecided Grenada on UN vote

Caribbean regional grouping of 15 countries called CARICOM, has not yet decided how to vote on the statehood bid at the UN.

September 5, 2011 22:16
2 minute read.
United Nations Security Council chamber

United Nations Security Council chamber 311. (photo credit: Patrick Gruban/WikiCommons)


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The tiny Caribbean island of Grenada may only have 110,000 residents, but it has a vote in the UN General Assembly on the Palestinian statehood question just like China, and as a result its visiting Foreign Minister Karl Hood will be meeting Tuesday with the country’s top leaders, including President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hood is part of a delegation of five officials from Grenada and another Caribbean country, St. Kitts & Nevis, in Israel at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry and as part of the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, which organizes trips to Israel for influentials from around the world. St. Kitts & Nevis Minister of Housing, Public Utilities, Public Works and Energy Earl Asim Martin is the other minister in the delegation.

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Hood said Grenada, part of a Caribbean regional grouping of 15 countries called CARICOM, has not yet decided how to vote on the statehood bid at the UN.

“We have to look at all the issues, and the implications of what the vote is,” he said. “It is very good for me to now be looking at this from the other side, not only what the media is reporting.”

Hood said the CARICOM countries, which traditionally join the non-aligned bloc and vote against Israel at the UN, are “not together on this.

Some of the countries have said they will support the Palestinians, but this is not a uniform position among all the countries.

“The issue that we face today has different dynamics than issues in the past. It has greater implications. For example, what will happen on the ground as a result of this vote,” he said. “As you look at the changes in the Middle East, what is called the Arab Spring, this vote, whatever it is in the UN, has the possibility of having repercussions. We want to be careful.”

Hood said his country has been lobbied regarding its vote at the UN both by the Palestinians and the Israelis, as well as by their supporters in the international community. He said the US, and two other countries other than Israel that he would not name, have lobbied Grenada not to support the Palestinian resolution.

This is the Grenadian foreign ministry’s first visit to Israel, and he said what he has been struck by so far was the country’s safety.

“I am beginning to have a better understanding of Israel than in the past,” he said.

“When I left home, people said to be careful, because Israel is a dangerous place to go. Frankly I haven’t seen any danger, or anything out of the ordinary, or anything to be frightened about.”

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