05 October 2010
The governments of Britain and Spain will not send delegates to a tourism conference later this month hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) because it will be held in Jerusalem. Israel’s Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beiteinu) was quoted by ‘Haaretz as saying: “OECD officials demanded that we not bring the delegates to East Jerusalem, or that we move the conference to Tel Aviv. If we agreed to that, they promised to send many delegates. We held a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and decided to reject the idea.” But even after Israel agreed not to take the delegates to the eastern part of Jerusalem, and to eschew any mention of east Jerusalem during the conference, the Palestinians had urged OECD members to stay away from the meeting, Misezhnikov charged. "The Palestinians, who insist they are a reliable negotiating partner, are continuing to cause us damage. We exerted intensive pressure via the ambassadors and decided to hold the conference despite certain countries' decision not to send delegates, including England and Spain."
"I strongly denounce the states that surrendered to threats," he added. "But the conference - with the participation of 21 ministers, deputy ministers and organization heads - will take place as planned in Jerusalem. This will be a declaration of intent and a seal of approval on the fact that we have a state whose recognized capital is Jerusalem."
Delegates from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia and Turkey, among others, are expected to take part in the conference. Israel became a member of the OECD earlier this year. The Paris-based OECD is an intergovernmental body committed to democracy and the market economy and to support sustainable economic growth and contribute to growth in world trade.
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