The Palestinian leader embarked on an official visit to the Republic of Cyprus this week, just days after Washington restored a line of communication with him and while energy talk in the region continues.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, was in Nicosia on Tuesday for a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who reiterated his support for a UN-backed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome to Cyprus my friend and President of the State of Palestine. The visit by Mahmoud Abbas confirms both the historical ties between our peoples as well as the will to further deepen our cooperation at all levels,” Anastasiades wrote on Twitter.
Abbas, also known colloquially as Abu Mazen, emerged after the Biden administration reportedly restored last week a line of communication with the Palestinian leader who had been put on hold by former US president Donald Trump.
The visit also comes as the EU Commission was unfreezing aid funds for Palestine while at the same time deepening controversial relations with Israel.
Nicosia reportedly joined other EU member states that voted in favor of releasing funds to the tune of €215 million that was being withheld for the past six months. Reports suggested Hungary, which called for Palestine to do more to drop anti-Israeli rhetoric in schools, voted against the move.
Nicosia reportedly joined other EU member states that voted in favor of releasing funds to the tune of €215 million that was being withheld for the past six months
Abbas, who was visited by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last month, got confirmation that Ankara’s rapprochement with Israel would not alter support for Palestinians.
Similar reassurances were also given by Nicosia, with the Cyprus News Agency reporting that Anastasiades would tell Abbas that “Cyprus remains a firm supporter of a solution to the Palestinian problem, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.”
Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, a political situation roughly as old and complicated as the Cyprus Problem, has been difficult for negotiators who always have to deal with highly contested issues.
But recent changes in the Biden administration, including a new energy strategy on the eastern Mediterranean, has received a lot of attention behind the scenes affecting all players in the region including Cyprus.
Israel-born Amos Hochstein, who serves as Senior Advisor for Energy Security in the US, has been described by Washington as “uniquely suited to support the development and implementation of an integrated strategy to strengthen global energy security.”
Hochstein was said to be traveling to Israel and Lebanon this week to salvage negotiations and revive stalled talks.