The U.S. State Department has announced to the Palestinian Authority/Palestinian Liberation Organization (started by Yassir Arafat) Mission representative in the United States that its status will be upgraded from a ‘bureau’ to that of a “general delegation.’
This change will allow the office in which the representation is situated to fly the PLO, now also the Palestine Authority, flag at its entrance. In addition, the upgrading grants certan privileges to the delegation staff, such as diplomatic immunity, although it is not equal to embassy status.
The PLO’s chief representative in the United States, Maen Areikat, said that this step makes the PLO’s status in the United States equivalent to its status in Canada and many western European countries.
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem claimed that the step was taken to strengthen Abu Mazen and try to get him to agree to direct talks with Israel. However, they expressed dissapointment that the White House did not make the upgrade contingent upon the cessation of the PA’s anti-Israel incitement.Israel National News