Abbas heads to Britain for talks on peace

6th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was heading to Britain late on Sunday for a one-day visit to discuss the stalled peace process with Israel.

Abbas was scheduled to hold talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday before heading to Denmark.

"The talks with Cameron and Hague will address the situation in the Middle East, the faltering peace process and Israeli settlement activity as well as the upcoming meeting of the Quartet," said Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina.

The Middle East Quartet of peacemakers -- which groups the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- is expected to meet in Paris later this month for talks aimed at jump-starting the peace process.

Abu Rudeina said Abbas's meetings in London would also address "ways to support and promote the peace process in the face of Israeli intransigence and continued settlement activity, which has stalled the negotiations."

He said Abbas would also discuss European efforts to support the peace process, which stalled shortly after direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians restarted in September 2009 over the issue of settlement building.

Israel has refused to renew a partial settlement construction moratorium that expired shortly after Washington relaunched direct talks between the two sides.

The Palestinians have refused to hold negotiations while Israel builds on land they want for a future state, leading to an impasse.

Israeli media reports in the past week have suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be drawing up an interim peace deal that would offer the Palestinians a temporary state on a limited part of the West Bank.

But the Palestinians have already said they will not accept any agreement that does not include a permanent resolution of all so-called final-status issues, including borders, the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

© 2011 AFP

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