Palestine looks at membership of Commonwealth

Will Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, attend future Commonwealth conferences? The problem is that the Palestinian Authority is not a sovereign state and the Commonwealth has no associate membership. Once the Palestinians achieve self-determination, however, the Commonwealth Secretary GeneralEmeka Anyaoku sees no obstacle to Palestine becoming the 54th member of the organisation.

The issue of associate membership was raised by Afif Safieh, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representative to Britain, at a meeting in London last weekend. Despite British control between the wars over large parts of the Middle East, there are no Commonwealth members from the region, although Yemen has applied."Maybe the PLO is far-sighted in not considering the organisation an empire under a new guise," Michael Fathers, spokesman for the Commonwealth secretariat, said yesterday.

Mozambique, never part of the British empire, joined the Commonwealth in 1995, and the case for the membership of a Palestinian state is historically much stronger. Relics of the British presence prior to handing over to the United Nations in despair in 1948 survive in Israel and the occupied territories. When Israeli troops withdrew from most of Hebron last month they pulled out of a grim fortress on a hill overlooking the city which the authorities had built during the 30 years' British rule.

The advantages of membership to the Palestinians is unclear as Mr Arafat has greater access to world leaders than most states belonging to the UN. t Commonwealth foreign ministers have delayed taking action against Nigeria, which has been suspended from the group because of the military government's execution of dissidents.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group ended a two-day meeting in London yes- terday saying it was inviting information from "all interested parties" before writing its report for the Commonwealth summit in Edinburgh in October.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in