JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority announced on Tuesday it had officially suspended contact with the United States following its closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington.
Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, said in a statement that the decision was made in response to the US’s closure.
He explained that the next step will be crucial and an opportunity to correct Palestinian-US relations.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki also explained to a Palestinian radio station that there are presidential instructions that will suspend contact between the PLO until the US backs down on its decision.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has not signed the memorandum to allow the existence of the PLO office. This permission is renewed every six months and that permission expired last week.
Al-Malki added that the meetings with the US will be useless while the PLO office is closed. This is because joint US-Palestinian meetings are often coordinated through the PLO’s office.
The US State Department had previously said that its decision to close the PLO office was taken because the Palestinians were attempting to bring a case against Israel before the International Criminal Court.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat had threatened on Saturday to sever relations with the US if the latter closes the PLO’s diplomatic office in Washington.
Palestine’s diplomatic mission has been present in Washington since 1994 and is headed by Husam Zomlot, a close adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.