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Last update - 12:59 02/12/2005

Canada decides to take more pro-Israel stance at United Nations

By Aluf Benn , Haaretz Correspondent

Canada has decided to adopt a more pro-Israel stance in the United Nations regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict and to move closer to the positions of Israel and the United States.

The decision followed a tough campaign by prominent members of the Canadian Jewish community, who directly lobbied Prime Minister Paul Martin to change Canada's voting pattern.

Martin's Liberal government, which is approaching general elections, has indicated that it would change its vote on three out of some 20 resolutions about the Middle East. This is in addition to changing its vote on four resolutions last year.

Until now Canada has traditionally followed European voting patterns in the UN on several annual resolutions pertaining to the Middle East.

The Canadian representative stated at the GA on Wednesday that his country would object to resolutions to maintain "the department for Palestinian affairs" in the UN Secretariat and from now on would only support bodies that promote the peace process.

Canada also objects to the decision on the Golan, as it places the onus for resuming negotiations solely on Israel, and will not support the resolution on a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem due to the Arab states' refusal to include an explicit condemnation of suicide bombings.

On Wednesday, the national chairman of the Canada-Israel Committee said he was pleased with the pending No votes, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported. However, the president for the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations blasted the move and suggested it could provoke a backlash.

Jennifer Loewenstein