No hasty decisions on peace talks, Abbas says

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he will not make a hasty decision to pull out of renewed peace talks in response to new construction in West Bank settlements.

Abbas at a joint news conference Monday in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he will seek advice from the Arab League next week before making a decision. The Arab League’s 22 member countries gave Abbas the green light to relaunch negotiations with Israel in late July.

“We are not rushing to respond and we will study the consequences and their effect on the negotiations,” the PA leader said. “After meetings and consultations we will formulate a stance and provide the Palestinian response to the cessation of the freeze.”

Abbas has said that he would walk out of the peace talks if building in the settlements resumed following the expiration of the settlement construction freeze, which ended at midnight Sunday.

“Israel must stop building in the settlements,” Sarkozy said, adding that he would invite Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to hold peace talks in Paris next month.

Abbas met with Jewish writers and intellectuals in Paris on Sunday.