WASHINGTON, April 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Monday warned the Palestinians against moving to disband their transitional authority, saying the step will have "very serious implications" for bilateral relationship.
"It would obviously have very serious implications for our relationship, including our assistance going forward," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters at a regular news briefing.
She said the U.S., along with the international community, had put millions of dollars into building Palestinian institutions under the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) over the years.
Palestinian officials broached the possibility of dismantling the PNA in response to the ultimate demise of the current round of peace talks with Israel, which started in late last July and are scheduled to end by April 29.
Washington is trying its best to extend the negotiations but without success as of now. Palestinian negotiators are preparing to meet on April 26 to discuss what the next steps will be.
The PNA's disintegration will render the Palestinian territories a state under occupation, a move that would increase legal and international pressure on Israel as it has to fill in a power vacuum.
Psaki called the move a "type of extreme step," saying "It would certainly not be in the interests of the Palestinian people for all of that to be lost."
She noted that the parties were continuing to work to find "the basis for extending the negotiations."
The PNA was established in 1994 under the 1993 Oslo peace accords reached between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. It was intended to be a temporary transitional entity until May 1999 when the parties were expected to have concluded their final-status negotiations.
The two sides have failed to ink any deal until the present day, enabling the PNA to function all along.
Israel maintains an overall control of the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, while Hamas has been running the Gaza Strip since 2007.