Italy upgrades Palestine’s diplomatic status

Monday 16/05/2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Monday that Rome would upgrade Palestine’s representation to a full diplomatic mission.

During a visit to Bethlehem, Napolitano said the head of the mission would have the status of an ambassador.

At a joint press conference, President Mahmoud Abbas thanked his Italian counterpart for upgrading Palestinian diplomatic status and for Rome’s commitment to a peaceful settlement in the Middle East.

France, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Spain and Ireland have all elevated Palestine’s diplomatic representation in their capitals.

Following his meeting with Napolitano, Abbas said that 63 years after Palestinians were forced from their homes in what is now Israel, there was still an opportunity for a historic solution.

But Palestinians could not return to negotiations while Israel continued to build illegal Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land, Abbas said.

The president said that Israel deepened the occupation by building settlements on land which would be a Palestinian state in a peace agreement.

The Palestinian leadership accepted the 2002 Road Map, which called on Israel to stop building settlements, and tried to move on after the Annapolis conference in 2007, reaching understandings with the previous Israeli government, Abbas said.

However, the current Israeli administration was “putting everything on hold,” he said.

Abbas said the Israeli government was launching a media campaign to discredit the recent reconciliation of Palestinian factions in Cairo. He noted that Israeli leaders had previously said that peace was impossible because of Palestinians’ division.

Israel must realize that “our people will not fade away,” even after decades of occupation, the president said.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.

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