Sup­port­ing ‘Pales­tine,’ Bel­gium up­grades mis­sion

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By TO­VAH LAZAROFF

In a nod to its sup­port for uni­lat­eral Pales­tinian state­hood, Bel­gium has up­graded the sta­tus of the PLO mis­sion in its coun­try, ac­cord­ing to a PLO en­voy.

“Bel­gium’s de­ci­sion to up­grade the diplo­matic sta­tus of the Pales­tinian rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice in Brus­sels and its sup­port for the Pales­tinian peo­ple in­di­cate that Pales­tine’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive has be­come an am­bas­sador just like am­bas­sadors of other states in the King­dom,” the PLO en­voy to Bel­gium and the EU Ab­dul Rahim al-Farra said.

He spoke to Voice of Pales­tine ra­dio sta­tion and his words were trans­lated by the Pales­tinian News and In­for­ma­tion Agency, WAFA.

Bel­gium said it would con­sider uni­lat­eral recog­ni­tion of Pales­tine as a state on pre-1967 lines, al-Farra said.

The Bel­gian For­eign Min­istry told The Jerusalem Post that “Bel­gium has not changed its po­si­tion re­gard­ing Pales­tine: a Pales­tinian state, within borders ne­go­ti­ated on the ba­sis of those of 1967, with Jerusalem as cap­i­tal of two states, is part of the pa­ram­e­ters agreed al­ready long ago by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as out­come of the peace process in the frame­work of the two-state so­lu­tion which Bel­gium calls for.”

“The ‘en­hance­ment’ of the sta­tus of the Mis­sion of Pales­tine in Brus­sels doesn’t im­ply any change in the po­si­tion of Bel­gium on the ques­tion of the recog­ni­tion of a Pales­tinian state,” the min­istry added.

It clar­i­fied that the change in­volved grant­ing diplo­matic sta­tus to an ad­di­tional mem­ber of the PLO mis­sion. At present only the head of mis­sion has that sta­tus.

Al-Farra spoke as PA For­eign Min­is­ter Riad Malki was in Brus­sels, where he met on Thurs­day with EU for­eign pol­icy chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini and dis­cussed is­sues such as Gaza and the West Bank. Dur­ing the talks, Malki also pushed for uni­lat­eral EU recog­ni­tion of the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries as a state.

Mogherini’s of­fice said that in her meet­ing with Malki she had, “stressed the un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment of the EU to a ne­go­ti­ated two-state so­lu­tion as the only vi­able and re­al­is­tic way to end the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict.”

A day ear­lier Malki met with Bel­gium For­eign Min­is­ter Di­dier Reyn­ders, who tweeted later about his coun­try’s sup­port for two states.

The EU, of which Bel­gium is a mem­ber, be­lieves that Pales­tine should only be rec­og­nized as a state upon con­clu­sion of a fi­nal sta­tus agree­ment with Is­rael for a two-state so­lu­tion.

To date, Swe­den is the only western EU mem­ber to break with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s for­eign pol­icy, hav­ing rec­og­nized Pales­tine as a state in 2014. A num­ber of EU mem­ber states that have been part of the for­mer Soviet Union, con­ferred Pales­tine’s state­hood decades ago when they were part of the Soviet bloc.

Most western EU mem­ber states rec­og­nize PLO rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices, but do not award them full em­bassy sta­tus that would be given to sov­er­eign na­tions with diplo­matic ties.

In a tweet Reyn­ders said that his coun­try had set “new pri­or­i­ties” with Malki, which called for “de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion, train­ing of diplo­mats, [and the] en­hanced sta­tus for the Pales­tinian Mis­sion in Brus­sels.”

In 2011, Bel­gium was the only one among UN mem­ber states that voted to up­grade the Pales­tinian sta­tus at the UN to that of a non-mem­ber state.

In Jan­uary, Bel­gium is set to as­sume a two-year seat on the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, a po­si­tion which is ro­tated ev­ery two years.

Reyn­ders said on Twit­ter, “As Bel­gium joins the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, long and rich dis­cus­sion with Riad Malki of Pales­tine on ways to re­launch a peace process to­ward a com­mon sus­tain­able fu­ture for two states, Is­rael and Pales­tine, as well as on the role of the EU & the UN.”

UN mem­ber­ship sta­tus which is akin to global state­hood recog­ni­tion, can only be granted by the UNSC.

The Pales­tini­ans have launched mul­ti­ple cam­paigns to se­cure UNSC sup­port for such mem­ber­ship, but the US has blocked all such at­tempts. As one of five per­ma­nent UNSC mem­bers, the US has veto power at the coun­cil and has op­posed to uni­lat­eral Pales­tinian state­hood.

(Bel­gian For­eign Min­istry)

DEPUTY BEL­GIAN Prime Min­is­ter Alexan­der De Croo (left to right), PA For­eign Min­is­ter Riad Malki and Bel­gium For­eign Min­is­ter Di­dier Reyn­ders meet in Brus­sels on Wed­nes­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel

© PressReader. All rights reserved.