Abbas: Israel has to stop settlement expansion for serious peace talks

The Palestinian Authority president says Israel must freeze settlement construction if it wants to engage in serious peace talks. However, President Mahmoud Abbas stopped short of issuing an ultimatum. Abbas spoke at the opening of a special Palestinian Cabinet meeting at his headquarters Wednesday. Abbas met earlier in the week with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The two leaders spent the meeting criticizing each other. Abbas complained about settlement expansion, and Olmert was upset with Palestinian appeals to the EU not to upgrade its ties with Israel. Abbas says he told Olmert that "if you want serious negotiations, you have to stop settlement expansion, release a significant number of prisoners and remove roadblocks."