EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff stated that the EU is “strongly determined” to support the upcoming elections.
“The EU is strongly determined to support the upcoming Palestinian Elections, in particular by ensuring adequate EU observer presence,” Burgsdorff said in a press statement following a press conference at the Central Elections Commission (CEC) in Ramallah.
“There is a long lead-time to prepare for such a complex operation as an Election Observation Mission. One of the prerequisites is the deployment of an EU exploratory mission several months before the elections to assess the situation,” he added.
He pointed that on 8 February 2021, in light of current and ongoing travel restrictions and access limitations for non-residents due to COVID-19, the EEAS sent a formal request to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting access for the EU exploratory mission via Israel to the Palestinian territory.
“Despite continuous contact with the Israeli authorities, over the past five weeks, a reply granting access has yet to be received,” he added.
“The delay has considerably reduced the EU option to observe the 22 May legislative Elections. Others options are, however, being discussed internally. The EU has in the past years consistently supported and funded the work of the Central Elections Commission in order to prepare for holding credible, inclusive and transparent elections for all Palestinians.”
Regarding allegations that the Israeli authorities informed the EU that it will not allow elections in East Jerusalem, Burgsdorff stressed that the principled position on East Jerusalem remains as set out in the 16 January spokesperson statement (The EU also calls on Israeli authorities to facilitate the holding of elections across all the Palestinian territory).
“We have no update on the Israeli position regarding Palestinian elections,” he added.