Abbas in Belgium, seeks European recognition of Palestinian state

Coinciding with Pence’s visit to Israel, Abbas arrived in Brussels to seek recognition of a Palestinian state.

By: Margot Dudkevitch, World Israel News

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas landed in Belgium Monday morning, where he will meet with Prime Minister Charles Michel and Alexander De Croo, deputy prime minister and minister of development cooperation, in an effort to gain support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem, Palestinian officials said.

Abbas will also meet with European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini at EU headquarters and then with 28 European Union (EU) foreign ministers. Abdel Rahin-al Farra, the Palestinian ambassador in Belgium, said the PA leader intends to brief them on the situation on the ground urge them to recognize the “State of Palestine” with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas’ trip coincides with US Vice President Mike Pence’s two-day stay in Israel, where he was warmly welcomed. Pence’s schedule includes an address to the Knesset, a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and a private visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Pence’s arrival in Israel was preceded by stopovers in Egypt and Jordan, where he discussed issues such as collaboration in the war on radical Islamic terror. Pence made no plans to visit Ramallah, as relations between the US and PA deteriorated profoundly since President Donald Trump announced recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in December. The Palestinians responded by saying the US can no longer be a mediator in peace negotiations, adding that Pence will be unwelcome during his upcoming visit to the region.

Asked to comment on the possibility of renewing peace negotiations with Israel, Abbas’ adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, told reporters that “any plan from any side should be based on the basic references, which are the United Nations resolutions on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with east Jerusalem as its capital, and the Arab Peace initiative, which addresses many issues including that of refugees,” the official Palestinian news site Wafa quoted him saying.

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