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Abbas to act against Israel at UN if peace talks fail

Dec. 3, 2013 5:06 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2013 9:52 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has warned the Palestinians will take action against Israel through international bodies if peace talks fail, ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The talks are going through great difficulties because of the obstacles created by Israel," Abbas told visiting Arab journalists late Monday at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"If we don't obtain our rights through negotiations, we have the right to go to international institutions," he said.

"The commitment to refrain from action at the UN ends after the nine-month period agreed for talks."

US-brokered peace talks, which resumed at the end of July after a three-year gap, have already hit a deadlock over Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians agreed to suspend action against Israel through international bodies for the duration of the talks, including at the United Nations, where they won non-member observer status in a landmark General Assembly vote in November last year.

Kerry is to return to the region later this week for talks with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his eighth overnight visit to the region since he took office in February.

It will be the US top diplomat's first visit since Israel backed down on plans to build some 20,000 new settler homes in the West Bank.

But Netanyahu's government has already slated thousands of new settler homes for construction since the talks resumed in July.

Last month, Kerry warned the settlements issue could break the negotiations at the risk of sparking a third Palestinian uprising.

The Palestinian negotiating team has already tendered its resignation over the issue but Abbas has yet to accept it.
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