Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki kicked off Sunday a visit to several European capitals to discuss the Palestinian elections scheduled for next month, his office said in a statement.
Al-Maliki is expected to hold talks on Monday with Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union. He will later meet with EU parliamentarians and foreign ministers.
The FM will mainly urge his European counterparts to pressure Israel to allow the Palestinian vote to be conducted freely, including in East Jerusalem.
“The visit is part of the ongoing Palestinian diplomatic efforts to place the international community and the EU in front of their responsibility to secure the conduct of legislative elections without any obstacles, including in East Jerusalem,” according to the Foreign Ministry statement.
Also on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting with the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, and another with the Fatah Movement’s central committee to discuss the elections in East Jerusalem.
Palestinians plan to hold the legislative elections on May 22 and the presidential polls on July 31, for the first time in 15 years. Elections will be held in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip without exception. Palestinian factions had pledged to respect and accept the polls’ results.
On Sunday, a PA official announced that last February, the Authority had filed an official request to Israel asking Tel Aviv to respect previous agreements signed between the two sides concerning the conduct of elections in Jerusalem.
However, the official said that Israel has not yet responded whether it will allow East Jerusalem Palestinians to vote.
A previous interim deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis allowed Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem to take part in elections conducted in 1996, 2005, and 2006.