PNA suspends contacts with United States over closure of PLO Washington office


The note sent by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to official departments and embassies said that "any meeting with an American official is banned regardless of the reason until they back down and treat us fairly", Bloomberg reported.

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

The Palestinians have frozen all meetings with the United States after it made a decision to close their representative office in Washington, officials said on Tuesday.

"Meetings with the American side will be useless while they are closing our office in Washington", he said, adding "the meetings between us and the Americans are basically coordinated through our PLO office there", he said.

The U.S. State Department on Saturday refused to renew operating permission for the PLO office in Washington for the first time since the 1980s, a Palestinian official said.

After the Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015, Congress passed a similar provision into the December 2015 foreign ops bill. It could also antagonize the Trump administration and result in cancellation of U.S. aide to the Palestinians.

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The decision comes after the Trump administration threatened to shut down the PLO office last week, citing a rarely invoked 2015 law saying that if the Palestinians move against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the United States can close the PLO's base in the U.S. capital.

Rights groups have condemned what they say is the Palestinians' right to seek an ICC decision on Israel's conduct during the seven-week 2014 Gaza War, in which its forces were accused of not taking adequate measures to protect civilian live.

The US State Department told CNN that it was looking into the matter but had no further comment t that time.

US President Donald Trump now has a 90-day window to decide whether "the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel", according to 2015 law- in which case he can waive the requirement to shutter the office.

Earlier on Tuesday, Malki told the PA's official radio station, the Voice of Palestine, that the United States administration was reconsidering its decision to close down the PLO office due to the threat by the Palestinian leadership to freeze contacts.