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Palestinians doubt peace talks will resume

July 5, 2012 at 7:57 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 5 (UPI) -- Palestinian officials said they doubt a meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead to a breakthrough.

Abbas is scheduled to meet with Clinton and French President Francois Hollande in Paris Friday to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, The Jerusalem Post said Thursday.

Xavier Abu Eid, an adviser at the Palestine Liberation Organization Negotiations Support Unit, told the newspaper Palestinians demand the release of 132 prisoners, as well as a settlement freeze. Eid said the prisoners were detained by Israel before the signing of the Oslo Accords and the issue had been part of previous agreements signed by the PLO and Israel.

"If you need to talk about a credible peace process, it's only fair that the two parties abide by previous agreements," he said.

An unidentified adviser to Abbas told the newspaper only a settlement freeze will prevent Palestinians from heading to the United Nations General Assembly.

Earlier this week Palestinian foreign policy adviser Majdi Khaldi said the Palestinians are working with international bodies linked to the U.N. Security Council to seek condemnation of Israel's settlement activity.

Abbas is facing mounting pressure in the West Bank by protesters condemning any resumption of peace talks.

Israel has said it is willing to resume negotiations with the Palestinians but without any preconditions.

Khaldi said consultations on a possible resolution will start Monday with international bodies linked to the U.N. Security Council.

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