PA insists no peace talks without settlement construction freeze
The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Tuesday remained pessimistic about relaunching peace talks with Israel despite US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's attempt to clarify earlier comments about settlements. During a visit to Morocco, Clinton told Arab ministers that Obama administration is opposing all Israeli settlement activity after she had hailed an Israeli offer to ease construction as "unprecedented" during a Saturday trip to Jerusalem.
According to AFP, the PA noted on Tuesday it will not relaunch talks without a complete settlement freeze. "Clinton's backtracking on her remarks, especially with regard to the partial freeze of settlements, is not sufficient to restart negotiations with Israel," PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP. "The (Obama) administration must compel Israel to halt all settlements in the Palestinian territories, including natural growth and settlement activity in east Jerusalem."
Another Palestinian official conveyed American pressure on the Palestinian Authority chief Mamoud Abbas has been mounting in recent weeks, leading him to seek aid from Arab and European states. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) will work towards building a unified Arab position... and will work with them to form a strong European position that will be more helpful to us," the official was quoted as saying.