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Palestinians not interested in talks: Israeli PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged that the Palestinians have no interest in restarting peace negotiations.

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged on Tuesday that the Palestinians have no interest
in restarting peace negotiations, suggesting that newly
resumed contacts between the sides are producing little

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began meeting in
Jordan Jan. 3 in an attempt to find a formula to restart
formal negotiations. Israeli-Palestinian talks have been
stalled for more than three years over the issue of Israeli
settlement construction.

"For the last three years, the Palestinians have refused
to enter negotiations, thinking they could impose
preconditions upon us," Netanyahu told Israeli lawmakers in a
closed parliamentary meeting.

"The Palestinian have no interest in entering peace talks.
I`m ready to travel now to Ramallah to start peace talks with
Abu Mazen, without preconditions. But the simple truth is that
Abu Mazen is not ready," he said. Abbas is widely known as Abu

Netanyahu`s comments were relayed by a meeting participant
who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was

Abbas says the Palestinians will not resume talks unless
Israel stops building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem,
areas Israel captured in the 1967 war from Jordan and claimed
by the Palestinians as parts of their future state.

Abbas says continued growth in the settlements, now home
to some 500,000 Israelis, is a sign of bad faith by Israel.

Israel maintains that the issue of settlements would be
solved automatically once there are agreed-upon borders and
rejects any preconditions to negotiations.


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