26 February 2008
Israel has postponed a planned meeting with Costa Rican officials over the Central American nation's decision to formally recognize a Palestinian state.
The meeting between President Oscar Arias and an Israeli diplomat, scheduled for Wednesday, "was postponed, but we are looking to reschedule," Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said Monday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel had summoned the Costa Rican charge d'affaires and instructed its ambassador to convey a message to San Jose.
"We would like to express our disappointment over this regretful decision of the government of Costa Rica to establish full diplomatic relations with the 'state of Palestine,' " Mekel said. "This act of Costa Rica totally contradicts the traditional friendship that characterized its relations with Israel since its establishment."
Stagno has said Costa Rica hoped to encourage peace talks on Feb. 5 when it recognized a Palestinian state - a key demand on the part of the Palestinians.
"We thought it was necessary to send a message to both sides about the need to sit down and negotiate on the key issues in the conflict," he said then.
In August 2006, Arias' administration announced that Costa Rica would move its embassy to Tel Aviv from the hotly disputed city of Jerusalem.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, but most nations don't formally recognize that claim. Post-1982 Costa Rica and El Salvador had been the only two countries with embassies there until announcing in the same month that they would relocate.
by Associated Press
The Jerusalem Post
26 February 2008