Abbas to ask European Union to recognize 'Palestine'

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 22, 2018

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask European foreign ministers to assist in creating a multilateral mechanism for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, a senior Fatah official said on Sunday.

In early December, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and initiated the relocation of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city, breaking with decades of American foreign policy.

Abbas will also "reiterate his commitment to the peace process" in the Middle East, Malki said in an interview with AFP in Brussels.

The issue of recognition of a Palestinian state is expected to be at the top of the agenda for Monday's talks.

Trump said his declaration reflected reality on the ground, and was not meant to prejudge any future arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians regarding the disputed city, though he later said it had taken Jerusalem off the table. He said Europeans "must show" that Palestinians deserve a state, he added.

"The EU has a role to play to push for engagement".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the EU Foreign Ministers during an informal breakfast in December in Brussels. "An Association Agreement can only be concluded with states, " it said.

"One does not replace the other".

The sources claimed that such recognition by the European Union would revive the internationally-backed two-state solution and help the Palestinian bid to get a full United Nations membership.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn declared this week that his country and other European Union nations would recognize the Palestinian state were France to lead the way.

Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia are also reportedly ready to recognize the Palestinian National Authority as a full-fledged national government. The meeting, on January 31, will be chaired by Norway and hosted by the EU.

The Channel 10 report said that Israel's Foreign Ministry has been trying to recruit Slovenian lawmakers to oppose the move, although expectations are low that the process can be stopped.

According to an European Union source, the ministers are also to discuss Monday during their meeting ways to strengthen the realization of the two-state solution as part of the European Union continues the state building project with the Palestinians.

"It may be well that a minister will raise the question of a recognition of a Palestinian state, but such a recognition is a sovereign decision by every member state, " the official said.

Sweden was the first western European country to recognize Palestine, in October 2014.

In December 2014, in a symbolic move not binding on government policy, French lawmakers voted in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state, following similar moves in Britain and Spain, as European countries tried to restart the stalled Middle East peace process. Italy also followed suit in 2015.

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