Belgium upgrades Palestinians' status

Nov. 10, 2013 at 8:04 AM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Belgium has upgraded the Palestinian Authority's diplomatic status in a step it said was to support the two-state solution.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Saturday the move reflects the position of his country and Europe, and would allow the head of the Palestinian diplomatic mission to use the title of ambassador.

"The raising [of status] reflects Belgian and European support for the two-state solution," Reynders was quoted as saying by The upgrade grants the Palestinian Authority "mission" status rather than the "general delegation" status it had until now.

The move to upgrade the Palestinians' diplomatic status has been in the works since November 2012 when Belgium was one of 138 countries in the United Nations General Assembly that voted to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status to that of non-member observer state.

Since then, a number of European countries have upgraded the Palestinians' diplomatic status and Cyprus granted them an embassy.

In unrelated news, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, currently in Cairo on a three-day visit, met with Egyptian interim government officials to update them on the peace talks with Israel. It is Abbas' second visit to the country since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July.

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