Tue, September 21, 2010
World > Middle East > Middle East peace in talk

Abbas: Continuation of talks with Israel depends on settlement freeze

2010-09-20 21:57:44 GMT2010-09-21 05:57:44 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs the Executive Committee meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the West Bank City of Ramallah, on Aug. 20, 2010. (Xinhua File Photo)

RAMALLAH, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian National Authority ( PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that the continuation of the direct peace talks with Israel depends on whether Israel would keep freezing settlement construction.

Abbas, who is currently in New York, was quoted by the Bethlehem-based Palestinian independent news agency "Maan" as saying, that "if Israel freezes settlement for one month, we will negotiate for one month."

"And if Israel freezes settlement construction for three months, we will negotiate for three months, and if Israel doesn't freeze settlement construction, we will not negotiate," Abbas said.

Abbas arrived in News York on Sunday to attend meetings of the 65th United Nations General Assembly.

Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian sources reported that the United States pressed Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement on continuing the peace talks and find a compromise over the settlement issue.

Asked about Israel's insistence that the Palestinians should recognize it as a Jewish state, Abbas said that "we are committed to the text of the Oslo agreement, in which Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognizes Israel's right to exist and Israel recognizes the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinians.""I'm not willing to amend Oslo accords upon the desire of every new Israeli prime minister," Abbas said. He also condemned the killing of a Hamas militant in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Friday.

Attacks by Hamas near Hebron and Ramallah early this month which killed four Israelis are "political attacks aimed at achieving political goals," Abbas said.

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