State Department announces closure of PLO mission in Washington

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The US is expected to take an aggressive stance towards the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In addition, the United States may negotiate more binding, bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering Americans to The Hague-based court, Bolton said.

Bolton has long opposed the ICC. Refusing to cooperate with the ICC because you think it sets a bad precedent for national sovereignty is one thing. "We will let the ICC die on its own", Bolton said. "After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us", says Bolton's draft text.

According to a draft of the speech seen by Reuters, the Neo-Con ideologue is expected to warn the ICC that the U.S. will fight back using any means necessary if the ICC ever dares to probe an American or Israeli, and will punish those who cooperates with war-crime investigations. 123 nations belong to the organization, which has indicted more than three dozen people during its history.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday said that its work would continue "undeterred" after Washington threatened to prosecute its officials if Americans are charged with war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

In its statement, the department says its decision is also consistent with administration and congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

In the past year, ICC has shown signs of being willing to bring cases against the United States for possible war crimes.

In November, the ICC attempted to prosecute US intelligence agents for war crimes in Afghanistan, action that Bolton said is an "utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation".

"The US threats against the ICC are a coup against the rules in the worldwide system", he said. Bolton added that there "no evidence that the PLO office in Washington contributed to diplomacy" and argued the decision "will have ultimately a positive impact on the potential for discussion among the parties as it eliminates unrealistic expectations that at least some of the parties have".

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In November 2017, the ICC requested authorization to investigate American service members and intelligence personnel for committing war crimes in Afghanistan.

While the charter laying out the initial organization of the PLO charter called for the destruction of Israel in 33 separate articles, it formally recognized Israel's right to exist in 1993, in return for Israel recognizing it as the "official representative" of and the point of contact for the Palestinian people.

In other developments Tuesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki slammed President Trump's decision to halt United States funding to a UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The Hague-based court could face tariffs and prosecution if it continues to threaten USA interests, Bolton added.

Responding to Washington's move to close down the PLO's offices in the United States capital, Saeb Erekat, the organisation's secretary-general, said in a statement that it was "another affirmation of the Trump administration's policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people".

"In secular terms we don't recognise any higher authority than the United States constitution", he said.

The court was founded in 2002.

Similar measures will be taken against any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans, he said.

The United States - under Republican George W. Bush's presidency - and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.

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