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In nod to Palestinian statehood, Belgium upgrades PLO mission

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In 2011 Belgium was one among those UN member states that voted to upgrade the Palestinian status at the UN to that of a non-member state.
In a nod to its support for unilateral Palestinian statehood, Belgium on Wednesday upgraded the status of the PLO mission in its country.

Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders tweeted about the upgrade, after meeting in Brussels with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, but did not provide further details of the upgrade.

Productive meeting with @RiadMalki and @AlexanderDeCroo to review the #Belgium-#Palestine relationship: new priorities for development cooperation, training of diplomats, enhanced status for the Palestinian Mission in Brussels. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/HFxGb3ybaq
— didier reynders (@dreynders) 7 November 2018


The European Union, of which Belgium is a member, holds 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 EU foreign policy. It recognized Palestine as a state in 2014. A number of EU member states that had been part of the former Soviet Union, conferred statehood status on Palestine decades ago when they were part of the Soviet bloc.

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

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

In 2011 Belgium was one among those UN member states that voted to upgrade the Palestinian status at the UN to that of a non-member state.On Wednesday, it hinted that it wanted to do more to support Palestinian self-determination. The move comes just two months before Belgium is set in January to take a rotating two-year seat on the UN Security Council.


As #Belgium joins the #SecurityCouncil, long and rich discussion with @RiadMalki 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. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/mwsggQ5xWm
— didier reynders (@dreynders) 7 November 2018


Reynders said on Twitter, “As Belgium joins the SecurityCouncil, 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, a move that 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 is opposed to unilateral Palestinian statehood.
 

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