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Finland, Denmark Upgrade PA's Diplomatic Missions

Finland and Denmark upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic missions to 'Palestinian embassies'.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 5/4/2013, 1:10 AM

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Finland and Denmark on Friday became the latest European countries to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic missions in their countries.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Danish counterpart Villy Soevndal made the announcement after a meeting of the Nordic foreign ministers in Stockholm.

Soevndal said the move means that "Palestine gets the same status" as embassies from other countries based in Helsinki and Copenhagen. He added that both countries believe that the PA’s self-rule has "come very far in recent years."

The UN General Assembly on November 29 upgraded the Palestinian Authority to the status of non-member observer state by a vote of 138 votes in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions.

Following that vote, Cyprus gave the “state of Palestine” an embassy, even though it still says that a “Palestinian state” needs to be established through negotiations with Israel.

In the months that have passed since the UN vote, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has taken several steps to officially name the areas he controls "the State of Palestine".

He first ordered all of the PA's institutions to stop using the term "Palestinian National Authority" on official documents and replace it with the term 'the State of Palestine'.

Abbas then issued new guidelines ordering the PA government to re-issue passports, identity cards, registration documents, vehicle licenses, driver's licenses, stamps and postmarks.

Abbas's new guidelines dictate that a new emblem which reads "the State of Palestine" be placed on all re-issued documents.

Also on Friday, Internet giant Google announced it had placed the name "Palestine" on its search engine instead of "Palestinian Territories" in recognition of the PA’s unilateral bid at the United Nations.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)