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U.S. wants PLO's Washington office to stay open -State Dept.

22 November 2017

By closing the office in Washington, DC, the United States itself made any contacts with the Palestinian Authority impossible, Riyad al-Malki told AFP.

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

The Palestinians have severed all contacts with officials from the Trump administration after it made a decision to close their official representation in Washington, dealing a blow to any potential resurrection of peace talks with Israel.

The pause in communication reportedly came from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself, and it's temporary.

"We are in contact with the Palestinian officials about the status of that PLO office".

It was not immediately clear what effect the State Department's move might have on the Trump administration's efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which are led by Jared Kushner, the US president's son-in-law and senior adviser.

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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.

The Palestinians are reportedly following through with their threat to sever ties with the U.S. after Washington orders closure of the PLO mission in the American capital.

Under the law, the PLO, the main Palestinian umbrella political body, can not operate a Washington office if it urges the ICC to prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes against Palestinians.

Al-Malki said Tuesday that the Trump administration is already "reconsidering" its decision concerning the PLO office in Washington following the statements made by the Palestinian Authority, as reported by the Israeli Haaretz daily.

Maliki added that the Trump administration must reexamine all the laws passed by Congress since 1987 defining the Palestine Liberation Organization as a terrorist organization.

Husam Zomlot, the PLO envoy to Washington, speaks to reporters in Washington, DC, Aug. 17, 2017. "This unprecedented action threatens US-Palestinian relations, as well as the entire peace process", the ADC said, as cited by the Palestine News Agency, WAFA.

U.S. wants PLO's Washington office to stay open -State Dept.