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Abbas spokesman: For talks, US must press Israel on int'l law

Jan. 3, 2013 5:38 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 5, 2013 1:20 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- As US officials called for a fresh start in Middle East peace-making in the new year, the spokesman of President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestine's position is clear, negotiations will start as soon as Israel respects international law.

Nabil Abu Rdaineh told Ma'an Thursday that Palestinian leaders are not pressing the US to impose conditions on Israel, but rather just to abide by international law and the position of the American administration itself.

As soon as Israel stops building illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and recognizes the terms of reference of the peace process, namely the 1967 borders as a starting point, Palestine is ready for talks, Abu Rdaineh said.

While leaders were pleased with Europe and the US' condemnation of recent Israeli plans for wide-scale construction in the settlements, it is now time for the world to take concrete action to stop Israel undermining the peace process and blowing up everything that has been built to date, he said.

On Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters the US was calling on Israel and Palestine to "take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations."

"As we turn the calendar to 2013 here, now is the time for leaders on both sides to display real leadership ... we urge both sides to clearly demonstrate that they’re serious about achieving two states living side by side in peace and security," she said.
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