Demonstrators in Brussels hold a giant Palestinian flag and anti-Israel signs.
(photo credit: REUTERS/FRANCOIS LENOIR)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently visiting Brussels, met with the Minister-President of the Flemish Government, Geert Bourgeois, on Thursday.
The two discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, Palestinian sources said.
Abbas arrived in Brussels after a three-day visit to Sweden, where he inaugurated the Palestinian embassy in Stockholm.
Abbas is accompanied by a Palestinian delegation that consists of his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amer, Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath and diplomatic advisor Majdi al-Khaldi.
The sources said that Abbas’s visit to Sweden and Belgium was mainly aimed at rallying support for the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN Security Council. According to the sources, the PA leadership is planning to re-submit to the Security Council its proposed resolution for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
During his talks in Sweden and Belgium, Abbas also complained about the Israeli government’s decision to withhold tax revenues belonging to the Palestinians in the aftermath of his decision to join the International Criminal Court and file “war crime” charges against Israel.
Abbas, the sources said, warned that the decision to withhold the tax revenues has created a serious crisis in the Palestinian territories, largely because of the PA’s inability to pay full salaries to public employees.
On Wednesday night, Abbas also held talks in Brussels with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.
The two discussed ways of enhancing the EU’s role in the Middle East peace process, according to a senior Palestinian official. He said that Abbas also briefed Juncker on the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and complained about Israeli measures, including continued settlement construction and “provocations” in Jerusalem.