Palestinians urge Israel to freeze settlement

Palestinian negotiators have called on Israel to completely halt further settlement construction on occupied land.

Palestinians urge Israel to freeze settlement
Palestinian negotiators have called on Israel to completely halt further settlement construction on occupied land.

Israeli and Palestinian teams met for the first formal talks in seven years as part of a U.S.-led drive, announced in Annapolis, Maryland last month, for a peace deal before President George W. Bush leaves office.

Wednesday's talks, which lasted for about 90 minutes, went ahead despite calls by some Palestinians for a boycott over Israeli plans to build new houses on occupied land in the Jerusalem area. Palestinian leaders decided to attend the talks but to focus on pressing Israel to freeze settlement building.

'We demanded a complete halt to the settlement building ... We have agreed to meet again, nothing else,' Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo said after the meeting.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said there was no 'quick fix' to the decades-old conflict and the process will require 'ongoing efforts'.

'They raised their concerns and we raised our concerns at the meeting,' Mark Regev said.

Israeli construction at the same settlement near Bethlehem—known to Israelis as Har Homa and Palestinians as Abu Ghneim—derailed previous peace talks in 1997.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie led the negotiations. Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed at Annapolis to formally restart the peace process.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Aralık 2007, 01:14
YORUM EKLE