Palestinian Authority cuts ties with U.S. after office closed

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 22, 2017 at 12:19 PM
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Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority has officially suspended contact with the United States after the Palestine Liberation Organization's office was closed in Washington.

"The PA has decided to cut its ties with the U.S. administration in response to the closure of the PLO office in Washington," the Palestinian presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina said in a statement.

Last week, the U.S. State Department said it would not renew the office license because of Palestine's request for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation to prosecute Israel. The agreement needs renewed every six months. It expired last week.

Trump now has 90 days to determine whether the Palestinians have "entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel."

In response on Saturday, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said they would "button-hold all our communications" with the United States.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki has said the U.S. decision "would hamper any hopes Washington has of brokering a Middle East peace deal."

On Wednesday, al-Malki told a Palestinian radio station there are presidential instructions to suspend contact until the U.S. reverses its decision.

The diplomatic mission has been present in Washington since 1994 and is headed by Husam Zomlot, a close adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also chairman of the PLO.

The Palestinan Authority is the semi-official, self-governing Palestinian body established in May 1994 as part of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO is the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" as designated by the United Nations.

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