Afif Safieh 88.
(photo credit: )
The Palestinian Authority has appointed Afif Safieh as its representative in the United States, replacing Hassan Abdel Rahman who served for the past 17 years. Safieh was previously the Palestinian General Delegate in the UK.
The replacement of the Washington representative took place last week, after the visit of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the US capital. Rahman left immediately to take up the post of Palestinian ambassador to Morocco.
The changes in the Palestinian representation in Washington are part of a major reshuffle Abbas is executing in the Palestinian foreign service. Among other posts, Abbas appointed a new representative to the UN, replacing Nasser al-Kidwa, who is now the PA foreign minister. Last month Kidwa recalled all PA envoys and told them of his intention to replace many of the representatives abroad.
Safieh is an East Jerusalem Christian, who was out of the country at the time of the 1967 war and was allowed to come back to in 1994, following the signing of the Oslo accords.
Safieh, who holds a doctorate in political science, was one of the prominent Palestinian voices in Europe. He was the Palestinian representative in London for the past 15 years.
Under US law, the Palestinian Authority is not allowed to maintain an embassy in Washington and is only entitled to have a low-level mission that belongs to the PLO, not the PA. Though it does not enjoy a full diplomatic status, the PLO mission in Washington serves as a full representative of the Palestinian issue vis- -vis the administration, congress and the media.