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Abbas: Peace negotiations face obstacles

By Xinhua

Ramallah : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas revealed on Sunday that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians “are facing obstacles, mainly settlements.”

Israel and the Palestinians agreed in Annapolis peace conference held in late November to launch talks on final status issues, which are supposed to end up with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

“The issue of settlements is a major obstacle that we face in the talks. I don’t understand why such kind of activities increase as we are talking about resuming talks on final status issues,” Abbas told several Fatah leaders in Ramallah.

After Annapolis, Israel decided to build some 300 housing units into the settlement of Har Homa, which is called by the Palestinians Jabal Abu Ghuneim in east Jerusalem. The Israeli decision has angered the Palestinians.

One session of talks was held after Annapolis between the two sides, which ended without making any significant achievements. The session was difficult as Israel decided to expand the settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem.

Earlier on Sunday, Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo announced that on Monday Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would hold a second session of talks, adding “the session would focus on settlements activities.”

“Everyone should understand that we are not willing to make any concession during the talks on final status issues, whatever the price is,” said Abbas.

Meanwhile, Abbas announced that his Fatah movement will soon hold its sixth general assembly convention in the Palestinian territories and abroad, adding “a new and a fresh leadership will be elected.”