Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas begins Latin America trip from Venezuela; due in Chile, Cuba this week

CARACAS – The President of the State of Palestine and the Executive Committee of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas has embarked on a trip to three Latin America countries: Venezuela, Chile and Cuba.

Landing in the Venezuelan capital yesterday, Abbas met President Nicolas Maduro at the presidential palace Miraflores. He thanked him for rejecting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent decision to relocate the American Embassy from Tel Aviv.

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Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Washington was recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and planning to move the American embassy to the ancient city. The announcement sparked condemnations worldwide.

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied land and Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.

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In Caracas, President Abbas called on Latin American states not to copy the contentious decision by the U.S. to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

“We hope that some countries across Latin America won’t go moving their embassies to Jerusalem, because that is against international law,” Abbas said during a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart on Monday.

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Venezuela and Palestine already maintain cooperation agreements in sectors such as agriculture, trade, culture, health and education. In the aftermath of Israel’s military offensive “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014, Maduro provided medical assistance for Palestinians in Gaza. Venezuela also issued statements recently, condemning Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians participating in the Great Return March on the Gaza border.

In comments reported by TeleSUR, Maduro described Palestine as “the most beautiful cause of unity.” He added: “We love this nation and we hope that sooner or later talks will resume so that they can recover their territory… There is more to be done for the Palestinian people and much more needs to be done to stop the human crime that has been committed against Palestine.”

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Maduro also expressed hope for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which would lead “to the return of Palestinian territory and their right to exist.”

The Palestinan leader’s visit comes at a time when Guatemala prepares to open its embassy in Jerusalem next week.

The U.S. is scheduled to move its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14, followed two days later by Guatemala. Paraguay is also expected to emulate the embassy relocation by the end of May.

Abbas will also visit Cuba and Chile.