'Abbas says he'll renew talks if settlement building halts'

PA prime minister set to meet with Colombian president ahead of stop in France for talks with Sarkozy over UN statehood bid.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Colombia 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/John Vizcaino)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Colombia 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/John Vizcaino)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that if Israel recognizes the right of Palestinians to a state and stops all settlement activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem, "we will immediately go to negotiations," Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported on Tuesday.
Abbas's statement came as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would meet with the Palestinian president "anytime."
RELATED:Sarkozy advocates Palestinian observer status at UNEU's foreign ministers support call for immediate talks Abbas was speaking at a political function in Colombia, during part a tour in South America aimed at garnering support for the Palestinian bid for full membership in the United Nations.
"We want to reach a political solution to help establish the state of Palestine alongside the State of Israel," Abbas added.
The Palestinians, he said, do not want war and will not allow extremists or radicals to bring about further violent conflict.
The Palestinians went to the United Nations, Abbas explained, "to obtain membership in the global institution." He insisted that going to the UN does not contradict the negotiation framework laid out in September of 2010.
Abbas was scheduled to meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday before departing for Paris where he was schedule to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the Palestinian bid in the UN Security Council, PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said on Tuesday according to AFP .France is a permanent member of the Security Council.
PA negotiator Nabil Shaath on Monday expressed optimism that the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations Security Council would receive the backing of nine countries, which would allow the resolution to pass if it is not vetoed by any permanent member of the Security Council.
Shaath told Ma'an News Agency that the nine countries include Gabon, Nigeria, Bosnia, Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa, China and Russia.
The US has said it would veto the resolution on Palestine at the Security Council, a fact that Sarkozy has publicly acknowledged.
The French president has said he supports granting the Palestinian "observer status" at the UN, and sees this step as both intermediate and important for a broader peace plan he announced at the UN General Assembly last month.
Sarkozy has also called for Palestinians and Israelis to return to the negotiating table.
Click for full JPost coverageClick for full JPost coverage