As Pence visits Israel, Abbas to seek EU support for Palestinian state

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Brussels on Monday to meet with members of the EU to discuss EU/internationally-led peace talks in the region. Abbas’ decision to speak with the EU comes after US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Abbas Photo Credit: Ehud Amiton/TPS

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will be in Brussels on Monday meeting with the EU regarding support for a Palestinian state. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki stated in an interview with AFP that Abbas is striving to gain recognition of statehood "as a way to respond" to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the move of the American embassy.

The EU has stated that recognition for statehood from it is unlikely as these types of decisions stem from the individual members. Certain states are understood to want to leave the Palestinian Authority with something other than statehood in solidarity and a show of support in the direction of “association talks,” creating cooperation between the EU and non-EU member states.

Malki responded to the “association agreement,” stating: "One does not replace the other. Absolutely not." According to Malki, Abbas fully anticipates strong involvement and support from the EU to bring peace talks to the region.

Abbas’ mission to Brussels comes after Trump’s announcement last month declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the US’ withholding of funding for UNRWA.

The Palestinian Authority has since denounced the US’ involvement in the peace process and is seeking an internationally-led process. Hugh Lovatt, the Israel Palestine Project Coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Affairs, stated: "The Palestinians are looking to move away from a US-led process to a more a multilateral process and there does appear to be a greater willingness on the EU side to look at such a process."

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