(L-R) President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana and President of Suriname, Desi Bouterse
By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
NEW YORK, USA -- Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo, who arrived at the United Nations on Tuesday, is strongly lobbying for Caribbean and global support for a Palestinian state.
Throughout its history, Guyana has backed the liberation of the Palestinian nation from occupation, and has used every forum to speak on their behalf.
Jagdeo, on Wednesday at the UN, pushed hard for a Palestine State, according to a Surinamese diplomat at the UN. Jagdeo and his delegation are working to gather a solid CARICOM vote for Palestine in its bid for UN statehood.
When asked if Guyana will support the Palestine UN Resolution 377 “Uniting for Peace,” Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodriguez- Birkett responded, “Of course Guyana will support the resolution. It is our moral obligation and we will not deviate from our long standing position. I had a bilateral with my Palestinian colleague and he briefed me on what is taking place.”
So far Guyana, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, St Vincent, and possibly Dominica, according to the Guyana foreign minister, have recognized Palestine as a State.
“We hope to further discuss the issue when CARICOM foreign ministers meet today,” Rodriguez- Birkett said.
Jagdeo, in referring to Palestine, told CARICOM leaders, “We all have to be on the right side of history on this matter (Palestine).”
In this address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Jagdeo urged member states to support the Palestinian quest for statehood.
He said, "Palestinian rights and blood are as valuable and important as those of people everywhere else. I urge all of you to support their bid for statehood when it comes to this body.”
President of Suriname, Desi Bouterse, also reiterated Suriname’s support for an interdependent and sovereign Palestinian State.
In his address to the 66th General Assembly, Bouterse said, “Suriname has answered to the plight of the Palestinian people and has taken the decision to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, worthy of becoming a full fledged member of this world organization.”
The Palestinian bid for statehood this week has created a showdown at the United Nations between the United States and the rest of the world. With over 130 countries in the General Assembly and nine in the Security Council supporting Palestine’s bid for statehood, the United States is frantically working to avoid casting a veto in the Security Council.
A veto may destroy US credibility as an honest broker in this 62-year-old conflict. It can also jeopardize the US agenda in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
With the Palestinians gathering over 130 votes in the General Assembly and 9 in the Security Council, with full member status or observer status at the UN, Palestine may finally be able to hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people and the occupation of their land, believes Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi.
Palestinian statehood or even observer status, which they can easily get from a General Assembly vote, giving them Observer Status, according to Hannan Ashwari will “open the door for us to become a member of all UN organizations, institutions, agencies, and so on. It would empower the Palestinians,” she said. “We can also hold Israel accountable, which is something that is driving Israel and the US absolutely insane."
“They just want to ensure that Israel continues to act outside and above the law,” she added.