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Will talk peace, but without preconditions: Netanyahu

world Updated: Sep 25, 2011 19:31 IST
AFP
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas should agree to talks without preconditions in order to achieve a long-delayed peace deal.

"The Palestinians want a state, but they have to give peace in return. What they're trying to do in the United Nations is to get a state, without giving Israel peace, or giving Israel peace and security," Netanyahu told NBC television's "Meet the Press" program.

"That's wrong. That should not succeed, that should fail," the Israeli leader said.

He said that he broached the subject of talks without conditions with Abbas on the sidelines of last week's UN General Assembly. "I said in the UN, I said to President Abbas, 'Look we're in the same city. We're in the same building, for God's Sake, in the UN. Let's just sit down and begin to talk peace."

Netanyahu said he had this advice for Abbas: "If you want to get to peace, put all your preconditions to the side."

He made his remarks after Abbas was greeted back home in Ramallah by thousands who gathered to welcome him back from his bid to secure full UN membership for a state of Palestine.

Abbas told cheering crowds on Sunday that Palestinians would not hold peace talks without a "complete halt" to Israeli settlement building.

"There will be no negotiations without international legitimacy and a complete halt to settlements," he said in comments which appeared to be a rejection of a proposal for new talks from the international peacemaking Quartet, which on Friday proposed renewed negotiations but did not explicitly seek a settlement freeze.

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