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Palestinians Can Raise Flag at Mission in Canadian Capital

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Canada has raised the status of Palestine Liberation Organization representatives in the country.

Although not yet possessing full diplomatic privilege and immunity, the PLO is now entitled to raise the Palestinian flag over its Ottawa mission, which it reopened in August after being closed for two years.

Canada also warmed diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority earlier this month by recognizing Palestinian-issued travel documents.

The move comes in the wake of the agreement for extending Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank signed by Israel and the PLO Sept. 28 in Washington.

Previously, Palestinians needed official papers issues by Israel to be admitted to Canada.

France, Britain and the United States have already recognized the Palestinian documents.

In a related development, Canada’s foreign affairs department has committed $1.2 million to help relocate 191 Palestinian families to the Gaza Strip. The families are from Canada Camp, a refugee camp in the Sinai.

That aid is part of a total package of $55 million pledged by Canada to the Palestinian people, supporting programs that deal with water-related issues, technical assistance and youth centers for troubled Palestinians, particularly girls.

Most of the assistance is intended to improve the living conditions of Palestinians.

No Canadian government funding has been provided directly to the Palestinian Authority.

At the time of the historic signing of the Declaration of Principles between Israel and the PLO in September 1993, Canada had already pledged $45 million in assistance during a five-year period.

Shortly after the signing, Canada increased its aid by $10 million in the form of new programs.

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