On 18 July 2011, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement on upgrading Palestinian representation in Norway.
Mr Støre commented, “This reflects the progress towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that we have seen under the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.”
Under the agreement, which will enter into force immediately, the Palestinian representative will have the rank of ambassador. The Palestinian representation will now be called “the Palestinian Mission”, instead of the former designation “the Palestinian General Delegation”. It will now represent both the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Palestinian representation has already enjoyed diplomatic privileges on a par with the representation of other countries to Norway.
Support for Palestinian institution-builing has been a main priority for the international donor community since the Oslo Accords in 1993. The objective has been to support negotiations on a two-state solution and lay the foundation for the formation of a Palestinian state.
As chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC), Norway has a key responsibility for coordinating these efforts. Palestinian insitution-building has seen major progress over the last three years.
President Abbas signed the agreement in Oslo on July 18. (Marta B. Haga, Utenriksdepartementet)