update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Washington welcomes ‘steps for Palestinian Authority to reform, revitalize itself’

A U.S. State Department spokesman declined to comment specifically on the future P.A. government, following its resignation.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Jan. 10, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Jan. 10, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman, declined to comment during the department’s press briefing on Monday about the resignation of the Palestinian Authority government.

“So with respect to both the resignation and a future government, ultimately the leadership of the Palestinian Authority is a question for the Palestinians themselves to decide,” Miller said. “It’s not a matter that I’m going to comment on from here.”

Miller added that the Biden administration welcomes “steps for the P.A. to reform and revitalize itself,” noting that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has encouraged the same in discussions with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“That’s something you’ve heard this president speak to, and it’s something that we will continue to pursue,” Miller said. “We think those steps are positive; we think they’re important—an important step to achieving a reunited Gaza and West Bank under the Palestinian Authority, so we will continue to encourage them to take those steps.”

Miller was pressed about whether the resignations represent a step in that direction.

“Again, I don’t want to speak to the actual resignation, because when it comes to personnel matters, those are questions that should be left to the Palestinians,” Miller said. “But we have been engaged with them on the need to reform and revitalize the government, and we have seen them start to take steps in that direction, and we welcome them.”

“Are the resignations part of the steps toward reform?” Matthew Lee, the diplomatic reporter for the Associated Press, asked Miller, smiling.

“I suspected you might ask,” Miller said, before again declining to answer.

“I mean. Come on,” Lee said. “We’re not idiots here.”

“President Abbas has said he is going to take steps towards reforming and revitalizing the Palestinian Authority.  He has said that directly to the secretary, and we welcome him taking those steps,” Miller said.

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