Abbas calls for halting Israel settlements, resuming peace talks

Abbas calls for halting Israel settlements, resuming peace talks
# 25 December 2012 00:41 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the West Bank holy city of Bethlehem on Monday to attend celebrations of Christmas for the first time after the United Nations upgraded Palestine to a non-member observer State on Nov. 29, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"We came here today wearing a new dress after our membership in the UN was upgraded," Abbas said, while thousands of Palestinians also flocked to Bethlehem to enjoy merry Christmas.

He stressed that he still hopes to see a direct peace negotiation with Israel resumed after Israel halts settlement building in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem.

"Many told us there is no need to resume the talks after the UN upgrade, but this is untrue, we want to resume the peace talks based on the international resolutions after halting the settlement activities," Abbas said as he joined the Palestinian Christians' Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem.

"Therefore I call on the Israeli government to halt all settlement activities and go back to the negotiations table. This is not a pre-condition, it is a legal commitment," he added.

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