oecd circle jerk 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Finance minister Yuval Steinitz met with OECD Secretary- General Angel Gurria in
Washington on Saturday and succeeded in lowering the flames that were sparked
after statements made by Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov last week regarding
the location of an OECD tourism conference.
RELATED:UK denies boycotting OECD conference in JerusalemUK to boycott OECD conference in Jerusalem
The conference, which is
about developing “green tourism” in Organization of Economic Cooperation
Development member-states, turned into a mini-diplomatic crisis after Meseznikov
accused Spain and the United Kingdom of boycotting the conference due to
Meseznikov had said that the OECD had tried to
convince Israel to move the conference from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, but that
after consultations with the Foreign Ministry it was decided that it would
remain in Jerusalem.
After the meeting in Washington, it emerged that the
OECD chief complained to Steinitz that the conference was politicized, adding
that his organization deals strictly with financial matters.
asked that the conference not be moved to Tel Aviv, and said Israel would
refrain from making any political statements regarding it.
Both the UK
and Spain denied that they were boycotting the conference, but the OECD felt
that the issue was becoming too politicized and that Meseznikov had implied that
the OECD’s decision to hold its conference in Jerusalem was a de facto
recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
In a letter to Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Gurria warned that Meseznikov’s comments had put
the organization’s upcoming meeting in Jerusalem in question.
to go forward with this meeting on the current basis, the tourism minister
should correct the misperceptions created and put the meeting in its proper
perspective,” Gurria said.
“They also make it more difficult to propose
further meetings in Israel.”
Gurria said that he regretted Meseznikov’s
putting the meeting in the context of the peace process, saying that it is
“counterproductive to our common objective to continue the smooth integration of
Israel into the work of the organization.”
Meseznikov told The Jerusalem
that he deeply appreciated the fact that the organization decided to hold
the second conference ever held outside of Paris in Israel, and that choosing
Israel was an important decision. He said that his words were misunderstood and
that clarifications would be given to the secretary- general in the upcoming