US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony BlinkenState Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday spoke to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, Blinken spoke to Abbas “regarding the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to maintain calm and de-escalate tensions.”

The Secretary emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Palestinian relationship, and the Administration’s support for a negotiated two-state solution,” added Price.

Blinken also “underscored the importance of concluding the investigations into the death of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh,” he said.

The conversation between Blinken and Abbas came hours after Price told reporters that the Biden administration remains "committed to opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem."

“We continue to believe it can be an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” he said.

“There are a number of steps that go into the reopening of any diplomatic facility. As you know, there are some unique sensitivities to this particular facility,” Price added.

The US consulate in Jerusalem was closed when the Trump administration relocated the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its functions folded into the embassy's activities.

The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed its desire to reopen the consulate despite Israel's firm opposition to the presence of a consulate for a foreign entity in its own capital.

The PA had a tense relationship with the Trump administration and had been boycotting the US since 2017, in protest of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to the city.

However, since taking office, the Biden administration has renewed ties with the PA and had been crafting a plan aimed at “resetting” US ties with the PA.

In one move, the Biden administration announced it intends to resume aid to UNRWA as well as other aid to the PA which was suspended by the Trump administration.

In January, senior US and PA officials met virtually to renew the US-Palestinian Economic Dialogue for the first time in five years.