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Abbas ready for talks if Israel offers encouraging proposals

Gulf News

Ramallah Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that Palestinians will not hesitate to resume peace negotiations with Israel if Israel offers "something useful or encouraging".

At a joint press conference with UN chief Ban Ki-Moon in Ramallah, Abbas said that Israel has so far not offered any encouraging proposals.

"Israel has not offered any encouraging proposals on which the Palestinians can build on and once Israel does, we will undoubtedly ready to go to negotiations," he said. "Till that moment, the Palestinians will be waiting," he added.

On his part, Ban Ki Moon said that his visit comes at a critical moment for the Palestinians.

Ban said Israel must halt colony building and present detailed proposals for a border with a future Palestinian state, as he tried to persuade the Palestinians to continue low-level meetings with Israel that the international community hopes will evolve into serious negotiations.

Ban praised Abbas for his leadership and publicly backed him on key issues, including the demand for a freeze of colony building on occupied lands the Palestinians want for their state.

With Abbas by his side, the UN chief affirmed that "all Israeli settlements [colonies] are contrary to international law and prejudice" the outcome of a final peace deal.

"I do believe in the two-state solution formula based on the negotiations and ending the Israeli occupation, and I have also been very encouraged by the Amman direct negotiations between the parties," he added.

Abbas said the Arabs will meet in the coming days to discuss the Palestinian option.