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Middle east

No talks without settlement freeze, says Abbas

Video by Luke BROWN

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-13

The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, told delegates at the Fatah party congress that peace talks would not resume until Israel has frozen all settlement activity in the occupied territories.

AFP- Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday ruled out a resumption of peace talks unless Israel halts settlement construction, and insisted on the Palestinians right to "legitimate resistance."
   
Speaking at the end of his Fatah party congress, Abbas insisted that  negotiations with Israel would only resume "on the basis of commitments made by both sides ... particularly a halt to all forms of settlement activity without exception in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories".
   
"Our people are committed to the peace option but reserve the right to use legitimate resistance, guaranteed under international law, against occupation and to achieve its goals which are liberty, independence and the creation of its state," he said.
   
Earlier, the head of a delegation of US Democratic members of Congress blamed the Palestinians for failing to hold talks with Israel, calling it the "largest thing" impeding the peace process.
   
"I think the largest thing impeding the negotiations at this point is simply the unwillingness of Abbas to sit down (with the Israelis)," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters in Jerusalem.
  

Date created : 2009-08-13

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