Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Thursday insisted on his demand for a halt to settlement building activities before talks with Israel can resume. "We will not accept negotiations as long as settlements continue," Abbas said in Cairo after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
According to AFP, the Palestinian leader said discussions with Mubarak had focused on "what comes after" Washington admitted it failed to persuade Israel to freeze settlements. Abbas added a final decision on talks would be taken in consultation with Arab and Palestinian officials. "There must be clear references for peace... and we will discuss all that with the follow-up committee, the Palestinian leadership and after that there will be a decision."
There are unofficial reports that during the meeting, Mubarak asked Abbas to allow more time for US efforts to pressure Israel.