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US still insists on freeze of Israeli settlements: Abbas


Amman : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday the US administration of President Barack Obama was still adamant in its demand that Israel completely halts the building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as a pre-condition for the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

“We did not feel any retraction in the US attitude in this respect,” Abbas told reporters after talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“We still hear what we heard in the past that Israel should stop all settlement activity and after that the final stage negotiations begin,” he said.

He said that the Israeli settlement activity dominated his talks with the Jordanian monarch, “who had already informed the Americans and the Europeans that the Arab stand will not change in demanding the cessation of all forms of settlement activity so that we can move a step forward”.

For his part, King Abdullah said that Israel “should stop all settlement operations and other unilateral measures which threaten to demolish the peace process”, according to a royal court statement.

The two leaders discussed moves for the “intensification of world efforts to re-launch the peace negotiations” that lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, the statement said.