Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels on Monday, meeting with senior EU officials with the aim of convincing them to recognize a Palestinian state. While the EU will likely not make such an announcement, the bloc has assured Abbas that it will support the idea of a future Palestinian state having its capital in East Jerusalem.

Abbas and Mogherini

Abbas and Mogherini Photo Credit: Twitter screenshot

While US Vice President Mike Pence was delivering a historic speech at the Knesset on Monday afternoon, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was holding a press conference in Brussels alongside EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. According to reports, Abbas flew to Brussels to meet with EU representatives in hopes of convincing them to recognize a Palestinian state.

“The EU is the most important friend of the Palestinian people,” Abbas said during the press conference. “The EU needs to play a political role in the Middle East.” Mogherini told reporters that the EU remains committed to supporting UNRWA even though Washington has announced that it will be cutting its contributions to the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinian leader’s trip comes at a tense period in the Ramallah-Washington relationship. The Palestinian Authority has released several statements condemning the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even claiming that it marked the end of Washington’s role in the peace process.

Reuters reported on Monday that the EU assured Abbas that it will support the idea of having a future Palestinian state’s capital in East Jerusalem. According to the PA’s official media outlet Wafa, Abbas met with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec while in Brussels.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Sunday evening that Slovenia is planning to recognize a Palestinian state in the coming weeks. Wafa confirmed the report on Monday, saying that the Slovenian government has already submitted a draft resolution recognizing a Palestinian state to its parliament.