Abbas to press Obama on settlements

PA president to meet US president this week; says PM's position will be main point in talks with Obama.

February 17, 2010 15:26
1 minute read.
Abbas to press Obama on settlements

abbas obama 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday he would focus on Israel's refusal to stop the building of settlements when he holds talks with US President Barack Obama later this week, Reuters reported. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected US calls on Sunday for a full settlement freeze in the West Bank and told his cabinet he would not accept limits on building of Jewish enclaves within Jerusalem. "We are aware of Mr Netanyahu's positions and I'm not going to engage on this subject through the media. This is one of the main issues I'll take with me to Washington," Abbas told reporters in Ottawa, Canada. Abbas, slated to meet Obama on Thursday, ruled out restarting long-stalled peace talks until Israel commits itself to the creation of a Palestinian state and halts expansion of settlements. "I really believe that we have a good opportunity to advance and make a comprehensive peace in the region. We don't need to reinvent the wheel," he said after meeting Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon. Speaking through an interpreter, Abbas said that regardless of what plan was used as a basis for a peace deal, "the common denominator is to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 (and) to establish a Palestinian state that would live side by side in peace and security with the state of Israel". Half a million Jews live in the settlements and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

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