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Abbas makes full-court press in Saudi Arabia for Palestinian recognition

As momentum for negotiations with Israel over a two-state solution stalls, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is doubling down on efforts to get European leaders to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.
Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas attends the World Economic Forum Special Meeting in Riyadh on April 28, 2024.

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The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership pulled out all the stops at the various senior-level Arab and international meetings that took place in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on April 28-29. The meetings, attended by foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and the PLO, were followed by a World Economic Forum (WEF) special gathering attended by foreign ministers from across Europe and the Middle East, as well as by representatives from the Arab League and the European Union. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also held bilateral meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as with several European leaders. Representing the sole Arab state on the UN Security Council, the Algerian foreign minister also engaged in intense shuttle diplomacy with European and Arab leaders.

A senior adviser to Abbas and his team who attended all the meetings told Al-Monitor that the Ramallah-based government has been focused on pushing reluctant European countries to take a courageous step in formally recognizing Palestine. So far, five out of 27 EU states — Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Malta — have said they aim to recognize a Palestinian state in the near term.  

“They are all concerned about possible blowback from Israel and the US,” the adviser said. As a result, Palestinians have doubled up on their efforts to help provide the hesitant leaders with a push to make the extra move. 

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