Palestinian President Meets With Senior US Officials Ahead of Biden Visit
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting on Saturday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority, with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr ahead of an expected visit to the region by US President Joe Biden. During the meeting, Abbas asked that the US remove the Palestine Liberation Organization from the list of foreign terrorist groups, saying that the PLO was “a full peace partner and had signed a series of peace agreements, sponsored by the US, with Israel,” the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. Abbas also demand the reopening of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which was shut down under the Trump Administration. Currently, the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians is headed by the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which is run out of the US Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. Abbas also urged the US to reopen the PLO’s office in Washington, noting that the organization “is committed to the peace process and stopping all unilateral actions.” According to WAFA, Leaf reiterated that the US was committed to a two-state solution and said that the mission of her delegation “is to prepare for the visit of President Joe Biden, who wants to meet Abbas.” She said Biden would discuss with Abbas strengthening Palestinian-American relations, putting a stop to violent escalations in the region, and moving to a political horizon. “The US administration is keen to create an appropriate environment and to give hope to the Palestinians and all peoples of the region,” WAFA reported Leaf saying.