25 Sep 2011

Abbas cool on blueprint for talks

8:03 am on 25 September 2011

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has reacted coolly to a blueprint for talks put forward by international mediators.

Mr Abbas said on Saturday he was studying the Middle East Quartet's idea for peace talks to open within a month, but ruled out any plan that did not demand an end to Israeli settlement building.

Mr Abbas submitted a bid for United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly on Friday and urged the Security Council to back a state with pre-1967 borders.

Afterwards the Quartet - the United States, the UN, the European Union and Russia - called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks within one month and aim for a deal by the end of 2012.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in September 2010. when the Palestinians walked out in protest at the building of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the General Assembly that the core of the conflict was not settlements, but the refusal of the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

The United States will veto the bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state if it comes to a Security Council vote.