Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calls on EU states to recognise Palestine

Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on EU states to swiftly recognise the state of Palestine.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calls on EU states to recognise Palestine
Pic courtesy: Reuters (Palestinian refugees protest in front of a UNRWA distribution centre in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on January 21, 2018)

Brussels: Visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on EU states to swiftly recognise the state of Palestine amid an international uproar sparked by the US administration`s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel`s capital.

Abbas made the remarks before an informal lunch with EU Foreign Ministers and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the sideline of the bloc`s monthly foreign affairs council, Xinhua news agency reported.

Hailing the EU as a "true partner and friend", Abbas tried to convince the bloc that "there is no contradiction between the recognition (of the state of Palestine) and the resumption of negotiations".

Striking a touching note, Abbas said the EU had contributed and continues to contribute to the building of the state of Palestine and its institutions with financial and economic support.

The EU has left the issue of whether to recognize the state of Palestine to member states themselves, most of which have wavered over such a decision.

Speaking of the tension with Israel, Abbas said the Palestinians "are still committed to the treaties we signed with Israel", stressing that Israel should do the same.

Speaking along with Abbas, Mogherini underscored that the EU had "already invested a great deal in the Palestinian state-building project and we are also looking at what options we have to strengthen our support from the European Union".

She reasserted the EU`s "firm commitment" to the two-state solutions, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine.

"This is and remains the EU position, based on the Oslo Accords and the international consensus embodied in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

"It is also, we believe, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties," she added.

Mogherini declared that the EU will co-host with Norway in Brussels an extraordinary session of the international donor group for Palestine on January 31.

Abbas`s visit to Brussels coincided with US Vice President Mike Pence`s trip to Israel, which is the third leg of his five-day tour to the Middle East starting from Friday.

Israel`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a similar visit to Brussels last month, during which he met with 28 EU foreign minters and Mogherinis, trying to ram home his point on the status of Jerusalem, but to no avail.

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