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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Arab League slams US decision to close Palestinian mission

The meeting issued a statement criticising Washington's policies towards the Palestinian cause

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit looks on during the opening of Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, Egypt September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit looks on during the opening of Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, Egypt September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit on Tuesday slammed the US administration’s decision to shut down the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s diplomatic mission in Washington.

The Foreign Minister’s meeting on Tuesday was the first since the US made the decision to suspend the PLO’s de facto embassy for Palestine in the American capital on Monday.

Mr Aboul-Gheit said in a statement that the decision comes as part of a long series of US policies towards the Palestinians aimed at derailing their cause.

"Since the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and the relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem this May, the current US administration has been showing its full bias to the Israeli agenda," the Cairo-based league said in a statement.

He is also made reference to the US procedures of halting financial aid to the UNRWA and said it was an affront to the Palestinian people.

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The Arab League said it will not allow UNRWA to dissolve or replace it with an alternative organisation during a meeting earlier this week with Mr Aboul-Gheit and the UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

Mr Aboul-Gheit said that the Arab League will look at ways to compensate the withheld US contributions and to tackle the UN agency’s deficit.

The Arab League issued a statement that said it rejected the idea that the Palestinians were unwilling to negotiate. The PLO has rejected US mediation since US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir endorsed the statement but also drew attention to Iran’s meddling in Arab affairs.

The Arab League also said that peace in Yemen remains one of its top priorities after peace talks in Geneva last week failed to produce the desired results.

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