11 May 2010

Despite Palestinian objections, Israel invited to join OECD

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurrian (photo) said Israel, along with Slovenia and Estonia, had been invited to become a member of the exclusive organisation, angering Pro-Palestinian groups.

The three states "will contribute to a more plural and open OECD that is playing an increasingly important role in the global economic architecture," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said in a statement.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development seeks to coordinate economic policies among the world's leading industrialised nations.

But pro-Palestinian groups say that letting Israel join would be a breach of the OECD's commitment to human rights because of the Jewish state's occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians.

Protestors were planning to stage a demonstration outside the OECD headquarters in Paris later Monday after Secretary-General Gurria holds a press conference to formally announce the invitation to the new countries.

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz hailed the OECD's invitation "a historic success ... because it give legitimacy to Israel as an advanced and enlightened country."


The OECD said it would welcome the three future members to the club at a ceremony on 27 May in Paris.

The OECD in 2007 invited Israel, along with Chile, Estonia, Russia and Slovenia, to begin negotiations on membership as part of a process to expand the group.

When founded in 1961, OECD membership represented 75 percent of global wealth. Today it accounts for 60 percent and efforts are being made to enlarge membership to incorporate rapidly growing economic powers.

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