The upgrade is an acknowledgement of the improvements made by the Palestinian Authority in its state building agenda and their progress against their roadmap commitments, and the extent of UK aid to the Palestinian Authority and the UK’s work with them. Under the upgrade the Delegation Office will be renamed the “Palestinian Mission”. There will also be simplified visa arrangements for members of the mission and other administrative benefits.
Speaking ahead of his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas today, the Foreign Secretary said:
“Under President Abbas’ leadership, Prime Minister Fayyad and the Palestinian Authority have made significant progress in building the foundations of a viable Palestinian state in line with their road map commitments. In light of this, and given the extent of our aid to the Palestinian Authority and our work with them, I will today confirm that we will join many other countries in upgrading the status of the Palestinian Delegation to London to the level of a Mission.
The UK continues to support the creation of a sovereign, independent and contiguous Palestinian State alongside a safe and secure Israel at peace with its neighbours. But we also continue to believe that the best way to achieve a lasting solution that delivers this is through a negotiated solution. We want to see an urgent return to negotiations, based on clear parameters including 1967 borders. We will work with all the parties to press for a decisive breakthrough in 2011. I will discuss these issues with President Abbas today”.