UK upgrades Palestinian diplomatic status

By Jennifer Lipman, March 8, 2011
William Hague in Israel recently

William Hague in Israel recently

William Hague has announced that Britain is to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to this country to a mission.

Speaking in advance of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ arrival in Britain today to meet the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, Mr Hague said Britain would “join many other countries” in doing so.

He said the upgrade was in light of “the extent of our aid to the Palestinian Authority”.

He added that there should be “an urgent return to negotiations based on clear parameters including 1967 borders" and said it was more vital than ever to reach a Middle East peace deal.

Mr Hague’s announcement comes after the Irish government upgraded the status of Dublin’s Palestinian diplomatic mission to that of an embassy in January.

France, Portugal and Spain have also all given the Palestinian Authority mission status.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman described it as an "unhelpful measure".

Yigal Palmor said: “The Palestinians are refusing to renew direct talks, and at the same time they are getting these gestures that are encouraging them in their current policy.”

Last updated: 5:16pm, March 8 2011