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Abbas heads to Brussels to seek EU support

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 25 May, 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 25 May 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas heads to Brussels Monday, in a bid to secure European Union (EU) backing for his positions vis-à-vis the comatose peace process, reports AFP.

In an interview with AFP on Sunday, Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki said Abbas would urge the EU to officially recognise the state of Palestine, in light of US President Donald Trump’s decision last month to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

According to Malki, Abbas will also “reiterate his commitment to the peace process”, adding:

“Since Trump’s decision has altered the rules of the game, he (Abbas) expects the European foreign ministers to come forward and collectively recognise the state of Palestine as a way to respond back to Trump’s decision”.

Abbas is scheduled to meet EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and the EU’s 28 foreign ministers but, the AFP report notes, “diplomats and officials in Brussels say recognition for Palestine is not on the cards on Monday”.

Read: ‘EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged’

Malki also said that Abbas will urge the EU to take on a bigger role in trying to move peace efforts forward, declaring American “exclusivity and monopoly” in the process as finished.

Mogherini, meanwhile, told reporters that the EU is working “to support an international framework to accompany direct negotiations”, adding that “clearly there is a problem with Jerusalem. I would say that this is a very diplomatic euphemism”.

“The only pragmatic, realistic solution for Jerusalem has to come through direct negotiations”, she added.

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