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US and EU put pressure on Abbas over Fayyad's resignation

February 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

President Mahmoud Abbas is facing massive American and European pressure to change his mind over accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, which has coincided with US efforts to revive peace talks in the region. A senior western diplomat expressed his displeasure over the political disputes inside the Palestinian Authority.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Pressure is being put on Abbas not to act on calls to sack Fayyad for at least two months in order to see the results of the US initiative.” Another diplomat said that US officials are going to visit Ramallah in order to exert even more pressure on the PA leader.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Fayyad failed to build a strong political base in the occupied Palestinian territories. He has become a target for Abbas’s Fatah party, as well as Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He is under increasing pressure from West Bank residents who are suffering from his economic policies. A number of strikes were held last September in protest at price rises. As Fayyad’s popularity decreased, claims the Post, presidential aides started to attack him verbally, saying that Abbas would be happy to receive his resignation.

During his latest visit to the region, US President Barack Obama hailed Fayyad and described him as a “peace partner”. In a clear display of American support, Secretary of State John Kerry has recently held many meetings with the beleaguered prime minister.

A number of reports were published earlier this week which presented a confusing picture about whether or not Fayyad had actually submitted his resignation to President Abbas.