Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: AP

Abbas: No peace talks before settlement freeze

In response to Netanyahu's call for meeting in Beersheba, Palestinian leader says during joint press conference with Romanian counterpart, 'PA cannot negotiate unless all Jewish West Bank construction halted'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that the Palestinian Authority cannot negotiate with Israel unless it halts all settlement expansions.


Abbas, who was responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for the immediate resumption of the peace talks, added that the US and the European Union were making considerable efforts to resume the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.


Abbas, who made the comments during a joint press conference in Ramallah with his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu, also called on Israel to endorse the two-states for two peoples paradigm and halt all settlement construction ahead of negotiations on a permanent agreement.


According to the PA leader such an agreement would include resolving issues related to Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, water, borders, security and prisoners. Abbas further demanded that Israel live up to its obligations as specified by the US-backed Road Map for peace.


Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu urged Abbas to meet with him in Beersheba, 30 years after the meeting between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat in the southern city in May 1979, which led to a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.


During the press conference in Ramallah, Abbas also addressed the Fatah- Hamas reconciliation efforts: "We do not want our internal differences to serve as an excuse for others," he said, referring to Israel.


Basescu told the reporters that his country backed Abbas' policy. 


פרסום ראשון: 07.12.09, 17:55
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