Norway, EU call meeting in bid to ‘speed up’ efforts for 2-state solution
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Norway, EU call meeting in bid to ‘speed up’ efforts for 2-state solution

Development assistance body to discuss peace deal and need to 'enable the Palestinian Authority to execute full control over Gaza'

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

European Union's Foreign Policy head Federica Mogherini gives a press conference in Havana, Cuba on January 4, 2018. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)
European Union's Foreign Policy head Federica Mogherini gives a press conference in Havana, Cuba on January 4, 2018. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

Norway and the European Union said Wednesday they would convene an “extraordinary session” of donor countries to the Palestinians, saying efforts to reach a peace deal needed to be hurried up.

The meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, to be held on January 31 in Brussels, is also meant to discuss the need to “enable the Palestinian Authority to execute full control over Gaza” based on the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal signed in Cairo on October 12, 2017.

“There is an urgent need to bring all parties together to discuss measures to speed up efforts that can underpin a negotiated two-state solution,” the EU said in a statement.

Chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the US and the European Union, the AHLC is the main coordination mechanism for development assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to meet with US mediators since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Tuesday said the Palestinians would reject all US-sponsored peace talks until Washington rescinded its December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The continued American talk about deals to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or calling for negotiations or talks is unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership, as long as Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not revoked,” Erekat told the official Voice of Palestine radio station, according to the official PA news site Wafa.

The Egyptian-brokered Palestinian reconciliation agreement set a December 1 deadline for the terror group to fully transfer power in the Gaza Strip back to the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by PA Abbas’s Fatah party, though that repeatedly pushed back as deadlines passed.

Hamas has demanded Abbas lift all sanctions he placed on the Strip as part of reconciliation measures.

Dov Lieber contributed to this report.

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