Abbas mulls continuation of peace talks

Sept. 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM   |   0 comments

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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will seek an Arab League decision on whether to pull out or pursue direct peace talks with Israel, officials said.

Abbas asked to convene an Oct. 4 meeting of the Arab League to discuss whether he should pursue direct talks with Israel or pull out, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper said Sunday.

Abbas indicated he would wait for the league's decision and until then would not abandon the peace talks, the report said.

"If there is no understanding on the settlement freeze, we will go back to the Palestinian institutions and the Arab League," the newspaper quoted the Palestinian president as saying.

Abbas told Jewish officials in Paris Sunday that negotiating while Israel builds in the West Bank settlements would be a "waste of time," Ynetnews.com said Monday.

The Palestinian president said he was satisfied, however, with the progress made so far in direct negotiations, the Web site said.

The al-Hayat report said Abbas requested a league meeting at which foreign ministers will debate Israel's decision not to extend the 10-month building freeze in West Bank settlements after it expired Sunday.

Last month, the Arab League gave Abbas the green light to enter direct talks with Israel.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on Abbas to continue "the sincere and good talks that have just begun."

Abbas arrived Sunday in Paris, where he was due to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Hamas called on Abbas to pull out of the peace talks.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told the Ma'an news agency Israel's insistence to continue construction in West Bank settlements "proves they are ignoring the rights of the Palestinian people."

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