BRUSSELS, Tuesday, April 20, 2021 (WAFA) – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Malki last night briefed his Belgian counterpart Sophie Wilmès and the European Union’s High Representative Josep Borrell on the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, in particular the upcoming legislative and presidential elections.
Malki, who started a European tour on Monday to discuss with its leaders efforts to hold the Palestinian legislative elections on May 22 and to garner support for holding them in occupied East Jerusalem despite Israeli obstructions, told his Belgium counterpart that holding democratic elections is facing Israeli obstacles, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem.
He said that the Israeli government has not yet provided a response to the message sent by the Palestinian leadership regarding organizing elections in East Jerusalem, which is under full Israeli control, and has not yet provided a response to three messages sent by the European Union regarding sending observers to monitor the elections.
He reviewed the obstacles that the Israeli authorities place in the way of attempts by Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem to exercise their right to hold elections-related meetings in the city, as they prevented two consultative meetings on the elections and issued threats against candidates from Jerusalem.
Malki considered that the Palestinian leadership sees that Israel refuses that elections be hold not only in Jerusalem but in the entirety of the Palestinian territories, calling on the European Union, Belgium and the rest of European countries to exert sufficient pressure on Israel to allow Palestinian elections to be held in all the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, reaffirming the determination of the Palestinian leadership to hold elections in all of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.
For her part, the Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed that her country welcomes the announcement of organizing legislative and presidential elections, within a free, democratic, transparent, comprehensive atmosphere that is compatible with international standards, and that it should apply to the entirety of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
Wilmès also renewed Belgium's commitment to support the Palestinian people in obtaining their national rights and establishing their independent state, through a negotiations process based on international law and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states.
At the end of the meeting, Malki invited his Belgian counterpart to visit Palestine to announce Belgium's recognition of the State of Palestine in compliance with international law and to preserve the two-state solution.
Malki also met last night with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, in Brussels during which they exchanged views on the upcoming Palestinian elections, according to a statement issued by Borrell’s office.
“High Representative Borrell reiterated the EU’s strong support for the holding of elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem,” it said. “Inclusive, accountable and functioning democratic Palestinian institutions, based on respect for the rule of law and human rights, are vital for the two-state solution. The EU is willing to do all that it can to support this important process, including through its continued assistance to the Central Elections Commission.”