JERUSALEM (JTA) — Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians will not restart peace negotiations with Israel until its new government accepts a two-state solution.
The Palestinian Authority president, speaking Sunday during a visit to Baghdad, also said that Israel would have to stop building in West Bank settlements and remove roadblocks in order to resume talks.
Abbas’ Baghdad visit is the first by a Palestinian leader since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. It is a first step in improving ties between the Palestinian leadership and the government of Iraq. Palestinians had good relations with ousted leader Saddam Hussein.
Some 15,000 Palestinians live in Iraq, according to the United Nations — less than half the number that lived there under Hussein, when they received preferential treatment. Many reside in refugee camps, where they fled during the violence following Hussein’s ouster.