Canada recalling diplomats from Israel, West Bank and UN over Palestinian vote

OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is temporarily recalling senior diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva.

He says he wants to get their views on the implications of the UN General Assembly vote which recognized the Palestinians as a non-member observer state at the world body.

“Canada is deeply disappointed but not surprised by yesterday’s result at the United Nations General Assembly,” he said in a statement Friday.

“Our government’s position is clear: the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace is through negotiations, not unilateral actions.”

“To that end, Canada is bringing its heads of missions in Israel and Ramallah and its permanent representatives to the UN in New York and Geneva back to Ottawa temporarily to assess the implications of yesterday’s UN General Assembly vote and inform Canada’s response to it.”

In a televised interview with the CBC, Baird said he wants to talk to the diplomats who are closest to the situation.

“I want to get a sense of where we go from here,” he said.

The minister said in his statement that Canada will review its whole relationship with the Palestinian Authority.

He added he is deeply disappointed by the UN vote, and that the only way to peace in the Middle East is through negotiations, not what he called “unilateral actions.”

The General Assembly decision is an “impediment to peace,” Baird said.

Canada was among a tiny minority of countries opposing the resolution as the Palestinians easily won recognition Thursday. The resolution to upgrade their status was approved by a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

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