Friday, August 24, 2007

Costa Rica, Lebanon re-establish diplomatic ties

Bruno StagnoSAN JOSE (Xinhua) - Costa Rica and Lebanon re-established diplomatic ties on Friday after a 23-year freeze, said Costa Rica's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The formal relations were re-established during a ceremony held in New York by Costa Rica and Lebanon's permanent representatives to the United Nations, Jorge Urbina Ortega and Nawaf Salam, said in a press communique.

Urbina said the decision expresses both sides' willingness to promote mutual cooperation and understanding as well as their wish to develop friendship and cooperative ties based on the constitutional principles of the UN and according to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The normalization of relations with Lebanon "will increase political and diplomatic rapprochement with the Arab and Islamic world in general and will open trade opportunities with those markets," Costa Rica's Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said.

Besides Lebanon, Costa Rica's government has re-established diplomatic ties with Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen as part of the gradual normalization of its relations with Arab countries, Stagno said.

Lebanon and Costa Rica's diplomatic relations were interrupted after the 1984 Islamic League Conference called on Arab States to reconsider its ties with the Central American country since it maintained its embassy in Israel in Jerusalem city.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced on Aug. 16, 2006 the transfer of this diplomatic embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

"It is time, then, to rectify a historic error at international level, which deprives us of almost any kind of friendship with the Arab world and the Islamic civilization," said Arias.

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