Palestinians 'freeze' meetings with United States over office row

Fireworks descend near Israeli police officers during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the East Jerusalem

"We are still waiting to know they actually plan to close the office".

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has canceled meetings with US officials at various levels in response to a decision by the US State Department not to renew the license of the office of the Palestinian diplomatic representation mission in the United States.

"Meetings with the American side will be useless while they are closing our office in Washington", he said, adding "the meetings between us and the Americans are basically coordinated through our PLO office there", he said.

"In practice by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official", Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP.

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In this handout image provided by the Palestinian Press Office, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump in Ramallah, West Bank, on June 21.

A U.S. State Department official cited "certain statements made by Palestinian leaders" about the International Criminal Court as the reason behind the non-renewal.

According to the law, President Donald Trump can waive the closure if the Palestinians are involved in "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel". It could also antagonize the Trump administration and result in cancellation of USA aide to the Palestinians.

The Palestinians are reportedly following through with their threat to sever ties with the USA after Washington orders closure of the PLO mission in the American capital.

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Trump, who has said he wants to strike the "ultimate deal" in negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians after decades of conflict, now has 90 days to decide if "the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel", and perform a U-turn on the decision to close the office.

Congress added a provision to the law in 2015 requiring the shuttering of the mission if the Palestinians seek to "influence a determination by the ICC to initiate a judicially authorized investigation, or to actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians".

The US State Department told CNN that it was looking into the matter but had no further comment t that time.

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