Abbas asks Europeans to recognize Palestinian state
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Abbas asks Europeans to recognize Palestinian state

At press conference with the Austrian president in Ramallah, the PA leader also repeats a call for the establishment of a multilateral mechanism for the peace process

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen standing at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah on February 5, 2019. (Credit: Wafa)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen standing at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah on February 5, 2019. (Credit: Wafa)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged European Union countries to recognize a Palestinian state Tuesday.

Abbas made the request at a joint press conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

“We hope the states of the European Union… will recognize the State of Palestine,” the PA president said in response to a reporter’s question.

While several EU countries have recognized Palestine, the majority of its members, including France, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, have not made such a move.

Israel has long held that recognizing Palestine before a peace deal is finalized will harden the Palestinians’ negotiating positions, making it more difficult to reach an agreement.

Abbas has previously called on EU member states to recognize Palestine, contending it would encourage Palestinians to maintain hope for peace.

The European Union flag flies outside of EU headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

During the press conference with Van der Bellen, Abbas also repeated a call to establish “a multilateral mechanism” to mediate the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Van der Bellen told Abbas he supports a two-state solution to the conflict, calling it the only way forward, according to the official PA news site Wafa.

Abbas has declared the Palestinians will no longer work with a US-led peace process since December 2017, amid anger over Washington recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and has asked a broad spectrum of the international community to fill the role instead.

While several European leaders have expressed support for the idea, there has been no concerted effort on the continent to kick-start talks.

The Trump administration is expected to release a long-awaited peace plan sometime after the Israeli elections in April.

The last known round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were sponsored by the US, collapsed in May 2014.

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