PNA suspends contacts with USA over closure of PLO Washington office

  • PNA suspends contacts with USA over closure of PLO Washington office

PNA suspends contacts with USA over closure of PLO Washington office

The Trump administration is reconsidering its position on closing the Palestinian mission in Washington, said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) confirmed that it had received instructions from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas "regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans".

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has canceled meetings with US officials at various levels in response to a decision by the US State Department not to renew the license of the office of the Palestinian diplomatic representation mission in the United States.

A US State Department official told the Israeli Haaretz daily that Washington intends neither to cut off relations with the PLO, nor stop working with the Palestinian Authority.

"We are in contact with the Palestinian officials about the status of that PLO office".

In 2015, the US Congress introduced a provision that Palestinians may not try to wield influence over the ICC concerning investigations into Israelis.

The State Department said it was looking into the issue, according to CNN.

It was not immediately clear what effect the State Department's move might have on the Trump administration's efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which are led by Jared Kushner, the USA president's son-in-law and senior adviser.

There is a 90-day period for Trump to consider whether the Palestinians are engaged in "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" before any decision is taken.

The threat to close the office could be a point of leverage for the USA, as the Trump administration seeks to engage the Palestinians in peace talks with Israel.

According to a weekend report by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, the Palestinian presidency expressed surprise at the USA certification decision, first reported by the Associated Press.

Trump and his advisers have reportedly begun work on a Middle East peace plan that seeks to end years of stalemate in part fueled by Israel's continued military occupation of parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian failure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in nature, as well as what Israel says is incitement for attacks against Jews.