Hanan Ashrawi resigns from PLO and renews calls for reform

Ms Ashrawi has spent years at the top of the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation

Top Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi has resigned, effective by the end of the year, renewing calls for reform of the organisation.

In her resignation letter, Ms Ashrawi said she met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on November 24 to inform him of her decision, and that she sent in her resignation two days later.

Unconfirmed reports of Ms Ashrawi's move had been circulating in local media.

"Regrettably, news of my resignation was leaked from 'senior sources' in a misleading and irresponsible manner that lead to conjecture and rumours," she said in a statement posted on Twitter by the PLO.

She said it was time to "reform" the PLO "in a manner that restores its standing and role" rather than its "marginalisation and exclusion from decision-making."

Ms Ashrawi said the Palestinian political system needs "renewal and reinvigoration" and to be more inclusive of qualified professionals, women and young people.

In her letter of resignation, Ms Ashrawi said she hoped her departure would usher in a "new phase" of the PLO's Executive Committee.

Ms Ashrawi, 74, has served on the Executive Committee of the PLO since 2009.

A few days before Ms Ashrawi's meeting with President Abbas, the Palestinian Authority announced its resumption of ties with Israel on financial and political issues after a six month suspension.

Security co-operation ended in May in protest over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's move to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

It is unclear whether Ms Ashrawi's resignation is related to the reinstatement of co-operation with Israel.