'Determined.' Abbas (L) with Sarkozy
Photo: AP
'Change history.' Netanyahu
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Abbas: Israel to blame if talks fail over settlements

Palestinian leader says will deliver 'very important speech' during Arab League meeting; Netanyahu tells Sarkozy, Clinton peace deal possible within a year

"Whoever decides to continue to build settlements and provide aid and protection to them decides to halt the negotiations," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told AFP on a flight to Jordan from Paris, where he met with French leaders.


"But we are still determined to see the success of genuine and serious negotiations," he added.


On Sunday Israel allowed a 10-month ban on new construction in the West Bank's settlements to expire despite Abbas' repeated threats to immediately pull out of the peace negotiations if construction resumed.


Abbas has said he will not officially respond to the move until he has met with the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank this week and Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on October 4.


On that day, he said, he would deliver a "very important speech" before the Arab League Follow-up Committee for the peace process in which he would announce "historic decisions."


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Netanyahu reportedly told the two he hopes the Israeli-Palestinian talks would continue and that he believes whole-heartedly that it is possible to reach an agreement within a year and "change the history of the Middle East."


The prime minister accepted Sarkozy's invitation to come to Paris next month to meet with Abbas.


Netanyahu is expected to meet with US special Mideast envoy George Mitchell on Wednesday in another effort to advance the peace process.



פרסום ראשון: 09.28.10, 20:06
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