Abbas: peace talks possible only when Israel stops settlements

13:17, December 24, 2009      

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel on Wednesday to halt settlement expansions in the occupied territories to resume peace talks.

"The full suspension of settlement construction is the only way to restart the negotiations from the point they stopped at," Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Abbas also called for defining the talks' goal of reaching a Palestinian statehood alongside Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) refused to resume the negotiations due to Israel's continuation of settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The PNA also wants the Israeli government, led by hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to endorse the two-state solution.

Netanyahu has declared a 10-month suspension of settlement construction in the West Bank, but the Palestinians rejected the initiative since it excludes East Jerusalem.

Source: Xinhua

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