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Political move Palestinian NGO spared thanks to Swiss pressure

PPC was founded in 2003 by former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat

(Keystone)

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to go back on a decision to close the NGO Palestinian Peace Coalition (PPC) after the intervention of the Swiss foreign ministry and other European countries. 

On August 18, Abbas issued a decree ordering the closure of PPC which promotes along with Israeli activists the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial plan for Palestinian statehood and an end to conflict with Israel. PPC’s assets and property in Ramallah were going to be transferred to the Information Ministry. 

On Thursday, the decision was revoked without any explanation. A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the European partners of the PPC, particularly Switzerland, had urged the Palestinian government to let it function. 

The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the change of stance and a spokesperson said that the office, operations and infrastructure of this "strategic partner of Switzerland for over ten years," have not been affected. PPC has received CHF 200,000 ($207,453) from the Swiss government and is also supported by the European Union, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. 

"Based on our contacts with the Palestinian authorities, the department is confident that in the future, the PPC will continue its activities unhindered,” stated the foreign ministry. 

The decision to close PPC appears to be an attempt to marginalize Yasser Abed Rabbo, head of the PPC and former secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a position from which he was dismissed last month by Abbas.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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