Abbas and Palestinian leaders are refusing to meet US Vice President Mike Pence
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the European Union to officially recognize the state of Palestine when he meets foreign ministers from the bloc.
Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki said Abbas will tell the EU it should take the step “as a way to respond” to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
Palestinian chief diplomat said if the Europeans want a role then they need to be balanced in their treatment of the sides and this should begin with recognition of the state of Palestine.
Abbas is scheduled to meet with EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of the Union’s 28 countries on the sidelines of their monthly meeting.
A week ago Abbas denounced Trump’s efforts to resolve the long-running conflict as the “slap of the century” and caused alarm by saying Israel had sunk the so-called Oslo accords that underpin the stalled peace process.
Abbas’s talks in Brussels come as US Vice President Mike Pence visit Israel during a tour of the Middle East with Arab anger still smouldering over Washington’s hugely contentious decision on Jerusalem.
Abbas and the Palestinian leadership are refusing to meet Pence because of the declaration, making his visit a rare one by a high-ranking US official not to include talks with the Palestinians.
Diplomats and officials in Brussels say recognition for Palestine is not on the cards and the EU leaves recognition in the hands of individual members and the best Abbas can hope for is progress toward an “association agreement” with the bloc.
Despite Abbas’s comments on the Oslo accord and his insistence that the United States can no longer serve as mediator the Palestine authority sources said they still committed to the peace process effectively frozen since 2014.