RAMALLAH, November 18, 2017 - The Palestinian leadership will not accept any blackmail or pressure regarding the operation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) delegation in Washington or negotiations, Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday.
He told Voice of Palestine Radio that his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, had not yet signed the memorandum that is issued every six months and which allows the PLO mission‘s office in Washington to remain open despite the expiration of the previous memorandum two days ago.
He said that the US Secretary of State signs this memorandum based on his conviction that the PLO has not done anything that would affect the situation that exists on the ground.
Malki said that failure to sign the memorandum so far may be part of US measures aimed at pressuring the leadership or create confusion in relation to several political topics.
He said that the ball is now in the US court to clarify its position, pointing out that contacts between the two sides are ongoing and that the Palestinian leadership is waiting for the outcome of meetings that will be held this week between the US State Department and the White House to determine how to deal with this issue.
AP reported on Friday that the US State Department has warned the Palestinians that it would shut down the PLO mission in Washington if they do not start serious negotiations with Israel or it the Palestinians take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over the settlements issue.
The US Congress passed a bill in the past calling for cutting all aid and contacts with the Palestinians if they proceed to take action against Israel in international forums, most particularly the ICC.
The US is working on reviving Palestinian-Israeli negotiations with its special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, holding more than two dozen rounds of talks so far with both sides in an effort to kick start the long-stalled peace process.