Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stepped down as head of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). He remains president of the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas and several other members of the 18-person PLO Executive Committee resigned on Saturday in what observers see as a move aimed at ensuring that allies will control the top decision-making body, Palestinian media reported.
The 740-member Palestine National Council (PNC), or Palestinian parliament, has been asked to meet in one month to elect a new committee, an official, Wassel Abu Yussef, told the AFP news agency.
Yussef said the resignations would take effect only when the PNC convenes, something that has not occurred for nearly 20 years.
He said that before the resignations were announced, the Executive Committee had elected chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat as its secretary general – a post once held by Abbas.
Erakat was given the post after Abbas suspended the former secretary general, Yasser Abed Rabbo, for reasons that remain unclear.
The PLO Executive Committee acts on behalf of Palestinians in the occupied territories and the diaspora, notably in the peace process with Israel.
tj/bw (dpa, AFP)