PA, French presidents condemn Israeli settlement plan

PARIS (JTA) — The presidents of France and the Palestinian Authority condemned Israeli plans to expand settlements.

Following an hour-long meeting Friday in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Israeli plans to continue expanding settlements were “not acceptable.”

“We want a settlement freeze, and also the re-launching of the final phase of negotiations,” Abbas told French reporters.

Abbas added that any possible meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month would, “depend on the steps, the measures that will proceed (the U.N. meeting), concerning the settlement freeze,” according to French reports.

In a statement following his discussion with the Palestinian leader, Sarkozy also criticized the reported settlement expansion plan, describing it as a key issue that will “determine” whether the peace process can get back on track.

The French foreign ministry spokesman said the growth of Israeli settlements would, “obviously be totally contrary to the spirit of the  (peace) process,” reported the French daily, Le Figaro.
 

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