PM defends trip to the Middle East

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ recent visit to Palestine is not an indication of a refusal to have relations with Israel he told journalists here on Wednesday.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is among several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations that recognise the Palestinian state.

And Gonsalves, speaking at a media conference on his return from a 15-day trip that took him to Bethlehem, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, said that relations between Kingstown and Jerusalem are still important.

“We have diplomatic relations with Israel,” Gonsalves said as he announced that Camillo Gonsalves, this country’s ambassador to the United Nation, has been invited by his Israeli colleague to visit that country.

“Now, one may say that it has something to do with the visit that I have made to Palestine. But we are not visiting Palestine and refusing to have relations with Israel. I want to make that plain …” Gonsalves said, adding that Kingstown addresses its foreign relations in a “principled and open” manner.

In justifying his visit to Palestine, Gonsalves said that Palestine has been around since the days of the Bible and occupy a swat of territory where the Palestinians, Arabs, and Jews have lived for thousands of years.

He noted the U.N. resolution last year, which says that both Palestine and Israel must have their separate states.

The boundaries of the two countries are to be decided but the U.N. says that both states must be secure and live in peace.

Despite both states being the central conflict in the Middle East, all Arab nations support Palestinian independence, Gonsalves said.

He said this position is also accepted by the United States although there are still questions about territory.

Gonsalves further said that Israel must also have safe and secure borders.

Kingstown, Gonsalves, said came to its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after taking several factors into consideration.

“Our government looks at the issues in a number of interconnected ways including our understanding of the history and circumstance and the theology,” he said.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, … when we hold a position of principle, we articulate it, we are not afraid to state it because we do not arrive at these positions lightly,” he further stated.

“And that is why our country and I, that we were honoured with an invitation by President Mahmoud Abbas,” Gonsalves said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Bloomberg News).

He added that besides him, only the Jordanian Foreign Minister and Vice-President of Hungary were invited by Abbas to be at the midnight-mass last Christmas Eve.

“I think this is of some importance and recognition to our country.”

Gonsalves further spoke of this country’s relations with Arab states including Libya and Iran, which have contributed to the international airport under construction at Argyle.

Qatar, he noted, has contributed to the Hurricane Tomas relief efforts and its emir has promised to visit SVG.

“We are developing a lot of good relations with Arab countries,” Gonsalves said, noting that relations with Kuwait began under the New Democratic Party administration of Sir James Mitchell.

“The Kuwaiti government and the Qatari government, for example, were very pleased with our principled position in relation to Palestine. Both the Emir told me that at the U.N. and so, too, the Prime Minister of Kuwait,” he said.

“… Our visit to Palestine addresses the issue in relations to Palestine itself but is also an interconnected issue with the building of relations with other Arab states — important relations,” Gonsalves further stated.

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8 thoughts on “PM defends trip to the Middle East

  1. Not too long from now the Palestinian Authority will be in chaos soon, watch and see, anything this man puts his hands on or anything he hugs always get in to trouble. I said there will be trouble in Palestan soon.

    Posted by Vin Jobe | January 5, 2012, 03:43
  2. Here we go again, another negative, doom and gloom from another nay-sayer (vin jobe ) Go Figure!!!!

    Posted by Caddy King | January 5, 2012, 08:13
  3. Caddy, Vin Jobe is just MIMICKING the NONSENSE on Bryan Alexander’s Facebook page.


    Vin Jobe, there has been TROUBLE in PALESTINE for DECADES. You have to be the only person who does not know this.

    Posted by vincypowa | January 5, 2012, 10:39
  4. Caddy, your doom and gloom is to tell us why you ran away from SVG when the ULP tried to give you something to do at the Sports Counsel, what happen the money was not enough to gamble away, or your Brother did not get you a cushy enough job that you are not qualified for?

    Posted by Vexalways | January 5, 2012, 12:34
  5. Its all to do with scrounging, lets pretend that we are interested in the Palestinians, see what we can scrounge around the Arabs toilets. Lets wipe their a…s, anything for a few dirty dollars.

    Its not what they can do for us that interests the Arabs, its what we can do for them in the UN. Do you think that they would be interested in the fat man infidel for one nano moment if they did not need us at the UN.

    Taking money from these people who torture and kill Christians is little more than Christian Blood money, its obscene just as Gonsalves is obscene.

    There can be no excusable reason whatsoever in taking such money, it only shows that by taking this blood money that Gonsalves has no Christian principles or values whatsoever.

    Perhaps doing things for a good cause and voting in the UN is OK, such maybe as Taiwan, they may have a just cause. But people who murder people, even their own kind, and also Christians, stoning to death women who are raped and the rapist goes free, they are just more Gonsalves scum bags. Let them keep their money, it will bring a curse on our nation and in particular all our Marxist scrounging scumbags.

    We have already seen our country blighted in 2010 and 2011, floods, fires, and black sigatoka, that is part of the wrath which we have to come upon us.


    Smell the sulphur

    Posted by Peter | January 5, 2012, 14:53
  6. I’m sorry, @Kenton, but I have to take issue with this article. Not with what it says, but the manner in which it is said.

    Your headline is “PM DEFENDS trip to the Middle East”… later you say that “In JUSTIFYING his visit to Palestine, Gonsalves said that…”

    Your article was subsequently posted on CMC News and picked up by other outlets.

    So, here is my question, which your article should have answered: Defended the trip against WHAT or WHOM?.. Justified his visit against WHAT or WHOM?

    You cannot baldly say that the PM “defended” his visit without telling me why he had to defend it, against what allegation or charge. Did the leader of the opposition criticise it? if so, what did he say? Did civil society demand an explantion? Was there widespread public outcry?

    Having read your article, I don’t know the answer. Now, all over the internet are articles (well, the same article, penned by you) saying that the PM was defending and justifying his trip. Maybe he was. I don’t know. But you shouldve told me the nature of the charges, and who made them. Without that info, I cannot put this “defence” or “justification” in the proper context. As such, it seems like either (a) there was such widespread condemnation that you don’t have to mention it; or (b) it is a reflection of the writer’s own biases.

    @Peter, you should more closely examine the history of christians in the middle east. Most of the christians in the middle east were displaced by israeli’s in the creation of the jewish state of israel, particularly in 1948 and 1967. Most of those christians are actually Arab, and many are Palestinian, and they were displaced by israeli settlers and the policies of the israeli government.

    That is not to say that Muslim Palestinians and Christians have had perfect releations in the middle east. Christians, Muslims and Jews have a troubled history there. But the fact is that most recent deportations and expulsions of Christians were done by the state of Israel.

    Posted by Vincy Patriot | January 6, 2012, 14:16
    • The thing about Vincy politics is that you have to constantly follow it. You can’t jump in the middle and try to figure it out. It won’t make sense to you. Maybe the persons reporting on it need to do a better job, but that’s the way it is. If you were following the happenings in SVG, you would have known that questions were asked by different persons as to why Gonsalves has to go on this “lavish” trip at this time.”At this time” has a lot of meaning and implications. Again, you have to be following the happenings to get a full picture.

      Posted by Bagga | January 6, 2012, 17:36
  7. Vincy Patriot, what a load of horse sh.t. I am not talking about displaced Christians, Muslims or Martians. What I write about is the fact that the Iranians and several other Middle East states are persecuting Christians. Imprisoning them for being Christians, executing them unless they renounce Christianity. Murdering them, persecuting them, starving them and torturing them. Those same states Saint Vincent and the Grenadines goes to the UN and votes for and with, whenever the matter or human rights matters come up. We vote with Iran in support of their nuclear program. Any time now a war will break out with the Iranians, don’t you think the world is watching us? Don’t you think that Gonsalves support of Gadaffi, wasn’t being watched by the World. Gonsalves is heaping disrepute on us.

    We support any crap state in return for money from them. This is Christian Blood money, that is why the airport at Argyle is now being called The Christian Blood Airport [CBA]. Better we don’t take the money than support all these rubbish regimes. Better we don’t have an airport if we have to sacrifice our Christian brother for it.

    Why you brought Israel into the picture I do not know. There have been Christians in all the Arab states since the birth of Jesus.
    Did you know that the Gonsalves family of Portuguese Madeira were Jews, conversos. Did you know that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s parents were Jewish, changed the faith when he was born.
    I am not aware of any Christian being imprisoned in Israel for being Christians. I am not aware of any women in Israel being stoned to death because they were raped.

    Did you know that a Gonsalves family member Antonio Gonsalves a sea captain, took the first African slaves back to Portugal which marked the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. This is not fiction, its historical fact.

    Posted by Peter | January 6, 2012, 20:30

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