Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Brussels on Monday with foreign ministers of the European Union, who assured him of their backing of his drive to have East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Abbas repeated his call for East Jerusalem as capital as he urged EU governments to recognize a state of Palestine immediately, arguing that this would not disrupt negotiations with Israel on a peace settlement for the region.
Abbas made no indication to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or to US Vice President Mick Pence’s statements on the city earlier in the day. Pence was in Israel on Monday.
“I want to reassure President Abbas of the firm commitment of the European Union to the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states,” said Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs.
Deputy German Foreign Minister Michael Roth told reporters that Trump’s decision had made peace talks harder but said all sides needed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In another gesture of support, EU foreign ministers discussed whether to increase the EU’s aid to the Palestinian Authority, after the United States said last week it would withhold about half the initial aid it planned to give the UN agency that serves the Palestinians. No decisions were taken.