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Ending settlements key to peace, PLO official says

Jan. 28, 2013 4:04 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 30, 2013 3:24 P.M.)
JERICHO (Ma'an) -- Ending Israeli settlement expansion is the key to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, PLO official Saeb Erekat said Monday.

The Palestinian negotiator said the requirements for peace will remain the same regardless of which political parties become part of the next Israeli coalition government.

Erekat made the comments during two separate meetings with Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair and the French consul.

International law should define the objectives of the peace process, Erekat said, outlining that Israel must withdraw forces to 1967 borders, end settlement activity, and release Palestinian political prisoners.

Peace negotiations have been frozen since 2010 after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refused to extend a temporary freeze on illegal settlement building.

Britain said last week that prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were almost dead because of expanding Jewish settlement in occupied territory, and warned Israel it was losing international support.
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