December 3rd, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) Acknowledging Palestine as a non-member observer state in the United Nations (UN) is a “step to ensure the yearning for peace between the Israeli and Palestine populations, and helps in the search for a solution that allows the coexistence of the neighboring States.”
That is, in essence, the reason for which Costa Rica voted in favor of the resolution recognizing Palestine as a non-member observer state in the United Nations General Assembly on November 29th, 2012, according to a release from the Foreign Ministry. November 29th was also the date of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and the 65th anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 181 on the Future Government of Palestine.
Non-member observers in the UN have the right to speak at the United Nations General Assembly meetings, participate in procedural votes, and to sponsor and sign resolutions, but not to vote on resolutions and other substantive matters. Non-member observer sovereign states are free to submit a petition to join as a full member at their discretion. The United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly then evaluate the petition. As of November 29th, Palestine became a non-member observer state.
The release also stated that by taking this position, Costa Rica is consistent in its relationship with Palestine, with whom the country has maintained diplomatic relations since February 2008.
Costa Rica also supported Palestine’s entry to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) recently.
“The current directors of the Palestine National Authority and Israel deserve our support. They are legitimate alternatives to terrorism, extremism and multiple actors interested in frustrating peace,” adds the official text from the Costa Rican government.
Costa Rica emphasized that peace will be the reward of “the voices that accept coexistence of two independent States with safe territories, safe borders, mutually agreed upon and acknowledged.”
The official text also states that Costa Rica supports both Israel’s right to exist free of external threats – especially terrorist threats, as well as the existence of an independent Palestinian State, sovereign, democratic and feasible.
The resolution obtained 138 votes in favor of Palestine (including Costa Rica), 9 against, and 41 abstentions. Among those who voted against Palestine were the United States, Canada, Micronesia, Nauru and Panama.
The Israeli ambassador to the UN stated that the Assembly’s decision is “wrong,” and that the appropriate path towards peace is “direct negotiations and not shortcuts.” He also added: “There is no resolution that can end the bond that the Israeli citizens have with Israel’s lands.”
United States also immediately criticized the decision, stating that the resolution “only builds more obstacles towards peace,” according to U.S. ambassador Susan Rice.
Among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution are Argentina, Bolivia, China, El Salvador, New Zealand, Norway, France, Japan, Spain, Nicaragua, Switzerland, and many others.
Although Costa Rica voted in favor of Palestine, statements regarding the matter were made through the Foreign Ministry. President Laura Chinchilla has yet to comment on the matter.