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Algeria & Commonwealth

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  • Algeria & Commonwealth

    SIX countries, including Algeria, Rwanda, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, are to be considered for entry into the Commonwealth, according to diplomatic sources.

    The group of mainly former British colonies has appointed a team to consider requests for membership from the six, which officials said were in the Middle East and Africa.

    Don McKinnon, Commonwealth secretary-general, would not name the countries, but diplomats listed them as Algeria, Rwanda, Yemen, Sudan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

    Mr McKinnon said the requests had not yet taken the form of a formal application to join the group, which represents countries with populations totalling 1.8 billion.

    "We have set up a group of eminent persons led by former Jamaican prime minister Percival Patterson to look into the matter," Mr McKinnon said.

    "The issues would be: should we widen membership? Should we have associate members? Should we have a half-way house?"

    Mr McKinnon, a former foreign minister of New Zealand who has headed the 153-member organisation since 1999, could not say when new memberships would be considered or whether he expected formal applications to come in before the group's next summit, which is scheduled for Kampala, Uganda, next November.

    "If a country is genuinely interested they won't put anything in writing until they have a reasonable chance of success," he said.

    Mr McKinnon said a key attraction for those hoping to join was the relatively low-cost multilateral access that membership opens up to some of the world's most populous nations.

    "The key question for these countries is: how can I extend my reach in a low-cost way?"

    The Commonwealth, which is more than 100 years old, is also a platform for co-operation in science, education, the judiciary, telecommunications and the media.

    "There are 85 international organisations whose name begins with Commonwealth or has Commonwealth in it," Mr McKinnon said.

    Most member countries are English-speaking, but some bilingual nations, notably Canada, also belong to the rival Francophone organisation spearheaded by France.

    If Algeria and Rwanda join, they would be following the examples of mostly French-speaking Cameroon and Portuguese-speaking Mozambique, both active members.

    The Commonwealth has been at the forefront of efforts to promote democracy in Africa, helping to organise free and fair elections that have led to peaceful changes of government in a growing number of countries.

    But it admits to having reached deadlock on Zimbabwe following president Robert Mugabe's decision to leave the Commonwealth after it suspended the country over charges of poll rigging and rights abuses.

    This article: Scotsman.com News - International - Israel and Palestinians woo Commonwealth

    Last updated: 18-Dec-06 00:13 GMT


    Scotsman.com News - International - Israel and Palestinians woo Commonwealth

    read the reader comments
    Quote:..........."Is England in shortage of narrow-minded muslim fanatics ? Algeria will be pleased to help (in case the pakistanis aren't enough)...

    A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
    By: George Bernard Shaw

  • #2
    I vote NO. The British will take a leg when they ask for a toe. Let's stick to the French, it's taking us 180 years to get to know them... why re-invent the wheel
    A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty - Mark Bradford.

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