At a reception for diplomats held in Ramallah Wednesday evening, Abbas urged the Israeli government "not to miss this historic opportunity."
He stressed that the demand to maintain the settlement construction freeze comes from the entire international community, possibly hinting that the resumption of construction on September 26 could lead to the PA's withdrawal from talks.
On Wednesday the Palestinian president spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair about the political situation ahead of the launch of direct peace talks in Washington next week.
The United States has set a one-year deadline for the talks, and said the only goal is to reach a full peace agreement.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is also optimistic about the chances of reaching a peace agreement within a year. Sarkozy said the direct talks, slated to begin on September 2, are "hopeful". "It's a matter of will and determination," he said in a conversation with French ambassadors in Paris, adding that the renewal of talks created high expectations: "We will not be disappointed."
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Palestinian police broke up a rally organized by activists opposed to the resumption of talks. According to the organizers, dozens of men believed to be plainclothes security personnel entered the meeting halls and put an end to the meeting.
Police also stopped a procession that was scheduled for the meeting. The assembly was meant to be attended by PLO member organizations, alongside bodies opposed to the decision to resume direct peace talks with Israel.
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