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Abbas: Halting settlement activity a duty, not a condition

Stopping Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is an obligation, and not a condition for returning to peace talks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday.
Still, if Israel agrees to stop building settlements, the PA is prepared to return to the negotiating table, Abbas said during a cornerstone laying ceremony at a new building at the Palestinian embassy in Egypt. Abbas, who was in Cairo to meet with senior Egyptian officials as well as a Hamas delegation, slammed Israel for refusing to recognize "international legitimacy."
"There are obstacles placed by the Israeli side on the path of the diplomatic process," Abbas said. "[Israel] refuses refuses until now to recognize international legitimacy, and refuses to stop settlement activities."
"When Israel accepts these commitments we will be fully ready to return to negotiations," he said.
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