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India: Israel must stop building settlements

July 31, 2011 12:29 P.M. (Updated: July 31, 2011 12:29 P.M.)
UNITED NATIONS (Ma'an) -- India on Tuesday urged Israel to stop building illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian in order to enable peace talks to resume.

At a UN security council meeting, India's envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri said halting settlement construction "should be the first step in this process."

He added: "Unless this essential step is taken and peace talks resume, the growing desperation may lead the parties to actions that can spiral out of control."

The last round of peace talks collapsed within weeks in September when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on settlement building.

The Palestinians withdrew from talks, saying they could not negotiate while Israel continued to build on land which would be a Palestinian state in a peace agreement.
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