Abbas has taken his diplomatic war against Israel to Brussels, calling for the EU to immediately and officially recognize the state of ‘Palestine’ with Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas arrived on Monday in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, on an official visit, during which he is urging the European Union (EU) to officially recognize the “State of Palestine”.
The EU has assured Abbas it supported his aim to win ‘East Jerusalem’ as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Abdul Rahim al-Farra, the Palestinian ambassador to Belgium, said Abbas was slated to meet with the deputy prime minister and minister of cooperation during the three-day visit to discuss bilateral cooperation between Belgium and the PA.
In an interview with Voice of Palestine Radio, al-Farra said Abbas would meet with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini at EU headquarters in Brussels and will then hold a meeting with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers.
Abbas will also deliver “an important speech” to the European ministers before holding a panel discussion, al-Farra said.
Abbas’ meeting with the EU foreign ministers in the presence of Mogherini and her staff is important, according to al-Farra. He said Abbas will brief them on the latest developments and will ask them to recognize the “state of Palestine” on the borders of 1967 with “East Jerusalem” as its capital.
Al-Farra noted that Abbas will also seek full partnership between Palestine and the EU before meeting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in order to discuss bilateral relations.
Response to Trump’s Declaration on Jerusalem
Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Malki told AFP that Abbas will advise the EU to take the step in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Since Mr. Trump’s decision has altered the rules of the game, [Abbas] expects the European foreign ministers to come forward and collectively recognize the state of Palestine as a way to respond back to Mr. Trump’s decision,” Malki said.
“If the Europeans want to be a player, then they have to be fair in their treatment of both parties, and this should start with the recognition of the state of Palestine,” he added.
While, the EU supports Abbas’ goal for ‘East Jerusalem’ to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, diplomats and officials told AFP that recognition of Palestine is not not an option, that the EU leaves such a move in the hands of individual states, and the best that Abbas could hope for is progress towards an “association agreement” with the bloc.
Abbas’ visit in Brussels occurs simultaneously with Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the Middle East, which the Palestinians are boycotting over the Jerusalem recognition.
Pence landed in Israel Sunday night and addressed the Knesset on Monday.