Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday reiterated his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners before returning to the negotiating table with Israel.

Abbas raised with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry the issues of continued construction in settlements, Israeli assaults on Jerusalem, settler assaults and the continued incarceration of Palestinians in Israel, according to a statement issued by the PA president's office.

Upon his arrival in Ramallah, Kerry first held talks with Abbas and PLO officials Saeb Erekat, Yasser Abed Rabbo and Nabil Abu Rudaineh.

Later, Kerry held a closed one-hour meeting with Abbas.

Following the meeting, Kerry, in an unprecedented move, toured the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh, where he ate shawarma and Palestinian pastries.

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