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Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Palestinians reject resuming peace talks

March 5, 2008

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— The U.S.-backed Palestinian leadership Tuesday rebuffed an appeal by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to resume peace talks with Israel, saying they would remain suspended until a truce takes hold in the Gaza Strip.

"I call on the Israeli government to halt its aggression so the necessary atmosphere can be created to make the negotiations succeed," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared at a joint news conference with Rice at his West Bank compound in Ramallah.

Abbas, who had broken off negotiations Sunday after a five-day Israeli assault on Gaza, also urged its ruling Hamas movement to halt rocket fire from the enclave into Israeli communities.

Rice, hoping for a quick revival of the talks, was disappointed by Abbas' reticence, but held out hope for an accommodation with Israel.

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