Abbas wants settlement moratorium for talks
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas said Tuesday that Israel should impose a new moratorium on settlement building in the occupied West Bank for as long as peace talks are continuing, AFP reported.
Speaking in an interview with the French radio station Europe 1 in Paris, Abbas said Israel's decision to allow the 10-month construction freeze to expire had endangered the Middle East peace process.
"We demand a moratorium for as long as there are negotiations, because for as long as there are negotiations there is hope," he said, speaking in Arabic through a French translator.
Abbas has said that the Palestinians will give their official response to the end of the freeze next week once he has met the Palestinian executive and representatives of major Arab governments.
"We don't want to stop these negotiations but if settlement building continues, we will be obliged to stop," Abbas said, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "should understand that peace is more important than settlement building."
Netanyahu's refusal to renew the moratorium has threatened to derail faltering peace talks and has drawn widespread criticism, including from the US, Britain, the European Union, France and the United Nations.