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Abbas Ignores Calls to Resume Peace Talks

March 04, 2008 05:42 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to resume peace talks with Israel despite appeals from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

30-Second Summary

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Abbas suspended Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in response to recent Israeli attacks in Gaza. Aimed at defending Israel from the rocket attacks coming from the region, the military strikes have killed over 100 Palestinians and three Israelis.

Today’s refusal to resume talks came despite Abbas’ earlier statement that “peace and negotiations are our strategic choice,” and marks the first day of Secretary of State Rice’s Middle East peacekeeping trip.

Rice has urged the two sides to resume negotiations as soon as possible despite the recent upsurge in violence. However, Abbas ignored her appeals and told reporters that he called on the “Israeli government to halt its aggression so the necessary environment can be created to make negotiations succeed."

Nonetheless Rice told the press in Egypt, where she begins her two-day effort to rescue the foundering talks, that "negotiations are going to have to be able to withstand the efforts of rejectionists to upset them, to create chaos and violence, so that people react by deciding not to negotiate.”

She maintained that a deal for peace was still possible by the end of 2008 and blamed Hamas for the recent violence.

Meanwhile, Israel has mounted new airstrikes and said that it will return to Gaza if necessary. And a New York Times editorial says that Rice must push for a cease-fire if conditions in the region are to improve.

Headline Links: Abbas refuses to resume Israeli-Palestinian talks

Reactions: Rice still confident in negotiations

Opinion & Analysis: ‘Slipping Away’

Related Topic: ‘Israeli Forces Briefly Enter Southern Gaza’

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