Direct talks with Israel 'futile', says Abbas

Direct talks with Israel would be futile under current circumstances, President Mahmoud Abbas has said.

The Palestinian leader is under pressure from the US to resume negotiations that broke off in 2008, under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s predecessor.

But he said he would not return to the table unless Netanyahu commits to a settlement freeze and agrees to pick up talks where they left off.

Netanyahu has not agreed to either demand. He has curbed, but not frozen, settlement activity.

Abbas said in the West Bank town of Ramallah that if the Israelis said “come let’s start negotiations from zero” that was “futile and pointless”.

His aide, Yasser Abed Rabbo, has said that the Palestinians would not return to talks without a framework and a timetable.

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