Palestinians freeze U.S. contacts over threat to shutter PLO office in DC

Palestinians freeze communications with Trump administration

PPO via Getty Images President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahoud Abbas

Meanwhile, Reyad al-Malki, the PNA minister of foreign affairs told Xinhua that there are presidential instructions to suspend contacts with the American administration until it regret its decision of shutting down the PLO office in Washington.

"What is the use of holding any meetings with them when they close our office?"

The Palestinians have frozen all meetings with the United States after it made a decision to close their representative office in Washington, D.C., officials said Tuesday. They further explained that the United States should allow the PLO office to continue its work in Washington and also remove the PLO from its list of terrorist organizations in order for contact to be resumed.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined that the Palestinians crossed that line in September, when Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas called on the court to investigate and prosecute Israelis, according to State Department officials.

A report Saturday said the Trump administration threatened to close down the group's office in Washington.

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A U.S. State Department official cited "certain statements made by Palestinian leaders" about the International Criminal Court as the reason behind the non-renewal.

"We are actually wondering how can we still talk to the American side while our offices in Washington are closed", Khatib said.

The Trump administration began to reconsider the move following threats by the Palestinian Authority's leadership that Ramallah would cut its ties with Washington, Maliki told the official Voice of Palestine radio station. The Palestinian foreign minister also said the U.S. must re-examine all its laws passed since 1987, and rethink its definition of the PLO as a terrorist organization.

The PLO office in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

After the Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015, Congress passed a similar provision into the December 2015 foreign ops bill.

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