No peace talks if Israel continues building: Arabs
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 25, 2010, 18:30
United Nations: The newly started Israeli-Palestinian talks will fail unless Israel extends a partial ban on settlement building in the West Bank, territory the Palestinians want for a future state, Arab League chief Amr Moussa has warned.

Moussa also reacted angrily to a vote earlier in the day in the UN nuclear agency in Vienna that defeated an Arab call for Israel to join the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations annual summit in New York, Moussa said negotiations could not proceed if building of settlements continued on the occupied West Bank because it would threaten "the territorial integrity of the new state of Palestine."

"Negotiations cannot go with settlements," he said yesterday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as said a partial moratorium on settlement construction will not be extended when it expires tomorrow.

"If they continue eroding the territorial integrity of the Palestinian lands, if they continue changing the demographic composition of the territories, why are the negotiations conducted, why are we wasting time?" Moussa asked.

Earlier in the week, Moussa met with senior diplomats from the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers -- the US, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia -- to discuss a way forward in the talks. The Quartet also has called on Israel to extend its settlement freeze.

Israel has refused to do so, arguing that settlement building was not be an impediment to the talks.

Moussa indirectly criticised the United States and other Western nations, claiming they were continuing to support Israel's intransigence.

"Defending Israel on everything, even (against) calling on Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty, is something very, very strange and does not augur well to building confidence," he said.

He said the Arab effort to get the 151-nation UN nuclear agency to urge Israel to join the international nuclear treaty to which all other states in the Middle East belong, failed after a "worldwide campaign" by Israel's western allies to prevent this.


First Published: Saturday, September 25, 2010, 18:30

Tag: ArabsIsraeltalks
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