Abbas ready to see Israeli PM for talk

Updated: 2013-08-25 05:04


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RAMALLAH - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he doesn't mind meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should newly-resumed peace talks proceed.

"There are no obstacles or barriers for us to meet in the time that we think we should meet," Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He was speaking in a joint news conference with visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The negotiations resumed last month after nearly three years of halt as the Palestinians were protesting Jewish settlement construction on lands that would make their future state.

Israel hasn't frozen construction in major settlement blocs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and released more building tenders over the past weeks, which clouded the atmosphere in the three sessions of talks.

Abbas said he hopes Israel would trade "the same true intentions" with the Palestinians concerning the peace talks, stressing on halting the settlement activities that "the entire world sees illegal."

Abbas added that the Palestinians seized the opportunity to restart the negotiations, hoping that the ongoing conflict in the Arab world won't affect these talks.

Meanwhile, the French minister said that the Palestinian- Israeli issue remains central in the region despite violent and powerful developments in the nearby countries, such as Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

He reiterated France's position that settlement was illegal, urging Israel and the Palestinians to go on with their negotiations until having a Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel.