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Abbas 'always ready' for talks after settlement freeze

Jan. 3, 2011 9:09 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 5, 2011 10:59 A.M.)
TUNIS, Tunisia (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he was "always ready" to continue peace talks with Israel as soon as it freezes settlement building.

"We are always ready to continue negotiations in the event that Israel comes to accept the stopping of its settlement plans," Abbas said in Tunis after talks with Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

"The United States has not succeeded in resolving this problem," Abbas said, adding that he was undertaking a "broad diplomatic campaign" in a bid to restart the peace talks and freeze settlement building.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled, with Abbas saying they cannot resume as long as the Israelis are building on land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

Without a new freeze, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate, effectively deadlocking direct peace talks that began on September 2, only to run aground three weeks later when building resumed in the settlements.
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