Abbas: No Peace Talks Until Israel Halts Construction

During a meeting with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Mahmoud Abbas rejected her request to resume peace talks with Israel, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.

"We are witnessing pressure from the Americans and a number of Arab elements to stop conditioning the renewal of negotiations on the halting of settlements," Ynet quoted an unnamed Palestinian source.

Erakat, however, said Abbas rejected the US offer due to Israel’s refusal to "include a complete freeze of settlement activity" in a recent deal reached with US envoy George Mitchell.

He said that Tel Aviv had refused to halt construction of some 3,000 houses currently being built in the West Bank or any construction in the annexed East Jerusalem Al-Quds.

Israel has been under pressure to halt the expansion of the settlements in the occupied lands, in line with a US-backed roadmap peace plan.

Tel Aviv, however, has so far refused to fulfill its commitments, despite demands by the international community.

(Press TV)

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