US officials scrambled to insist today that they will maintain an open dialogue with Palestinian leaders, despite moving to close their diplomatic office in Washington.
When questioned on the closure by reporters, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert went as far as to say: "I think we'd like for them to be able to keep it open."
"Shutting down an office -- that's not what we are talking about today. There are some conversations underway," she said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was examining the issue, she said, insisting: "In our view, communications are not frozen.
"We're in contact with the Palestinians. As far as I'm aware, the offices" are "open and running right now."
Under long-standing US law, permission for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to maintain its mission in Washington must be renewed every six months.
US officials say that by calling for Israeli officials to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court, Palestinian leaders have
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