11th September, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) office in Washington, DC.
The U.S. government, in a statement by Ms Heather Nauert, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, cited the PLO’s failure to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel for the closure.
The U.S. said: “The Administration has determined after careful review that the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Washington should close.
“We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017.
“However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.
“To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.
As such, and reflecting Congressional concerns, it said the Trump’s administration had decided that the PLO office in Washington would close at this point.
“This decision is also consistent with Administration and Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court,” it said.
The U.S. said that it continued to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties were the only way forward.
“This action should not be exploited by those who seek to act as spoilers to distract from the imperative of reaching a peace agreement.
“We are not retreating from our efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace,” the U.S. said.