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Biden: Settlement row must not stop peace talks

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Biden: Settlement row must not stop peace talks


US Vice-President Joe Biden says there must be no delay in resuming Middle-East peace talks despite an ongoing row about Israeli settlement plans.

Speaking at Tel Aviv University he criticised the timing of a decision by the Israelis to announce moves to expand the settlement of Ramat Schlomo in East Jerusalem.

He said: “The United States will continue to hold both sides accountable for any statements or any actions that inflame tension or prejudice the outcome of these talks. The most important thing is for these talks to go forward and go forward promptly and go forward in good faith.”

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
has informed the Arab League Secretary General that he wants America to help revoke the expansion announcement and has decided not to enter indirect talks mediated by the US until that happens.

Israel’s declaration that 1600 new homes are to be built in an area of the occupied West Bank annexed to Jerusalem prompted Biden to say it had, “undermined the trust required for productive negotiations” and warranted his unequivocal condemnation.

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