New Foreign Office chief was involved with PLO official

Simon Fraser resigned earlier position after romance with PLO official.

August 5, 2010 02:23
1 minute read.
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LONDON – The newly appointed head of the Foreign Office, Simon Fraser, resigned from another diplomatic position 20 years ago after becoming romantically involved with a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official just prior to the Madrid peace accords.

The new permanent under secretary of the Foreign Office became private secretary to the then-minister of state in the Foreign Office, William Waldegrave, in 1989, but resigned a year later after the relationship developed.

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“It is not our policy to comment on gossip,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

However, a Foreign Office source told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Fraser felt dutybound at the time to inform Waldegrave because of the conflict of interest. The source said the official for the then-banned PLO was living in London at the time; the two got to know each other and established a romantic relationship.

“Simon considered his position and decided that the relationship could cause problems, so on his own volition he explained his situation to Waldegrave and decided it sensible to stand down. He has since gone on to enjoy a stellar career,” the source said.

After resigning, Fraser moved to a different portfolio in the Foreign Office.

“No one should read anything into this and to how Simon will approach his work as permanent under secretary of the Foreign Office,” the source added.

Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Fraser’s appointment at the end of last month. Prior to his appointment, Fraser was permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Prior to this he had been director- general for Europe and Globalization in the Foreign Office.

He began his career as a Middle East expert, serving in the British embassies in Baghdad and Damascus.

“His energy and leadership will help ensure an ambitious foreign office that leads Britain’s efforts overseas and across government,” Hague said.

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