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Middle East

Abbas urges international pressure for Israel

Palestinian president says that the current US-brokered round of peace talks may be "last chance for just peace".

Last Modified: 27 Sep 2013 00:07
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Abbas said the peace process with Israel needed to result in a permanent peace [EPA]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned the United Nations that US-brokered peace talks offered a "last chance" as he demanded an agreement with Israel that permanently resolves all disputes.

Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Abbas urged the international community to pressure Israel to stop building settlements on Palestinian land.

"Time is running out, and the window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing," Abbas said.

"The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realise a just peace," he said.

The Palestinian leadership has frequently turned to the United Nations and the annual General Assembly summits to build momentum in hopes of influencing Israel.

The Palestinian issue has had a comparatively lower profile at the latest UN General Assembly, which comes less than two months after the two sides returned to talks following a three-year lapse.

Israel, which opposes Palestine's observer status, did not send officials to any speeches on Thursday as it fell on a Jewish holiday.

International action

Abbas said the peace process with Israel - relaunched after exhaustive missions by US Secretary of State John Kerry -needed to result in a permanent peace.

"We refuse to enter into a vortex of a new interim agreement that becomes eternalised," Abbas said.

"Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the states of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions," he said.

Abbas urged international action against Israeli settlements, praising the European Union decision to label products from the internationally condemned entities.

Abbas said that occupation cannot "provide legitimacy" and such policies may "impose a weak stability, but they cannot prevent an inevitable explosion".

US President Barack Obama urged all nations "to get behind the pursuit of peace" in his own speak at the UNGA.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address the United Nations next week and is widely expected to focus on urging a hard line on Iran.

Kerry, in an earlier meeting on the Middle East at the United Nations, also called for a permanent settlement.

"All of the issues are on the table - territories, security, refugees, Jerusalem. All of the final status issues are on the table," Kerry said.

Kerry and Iran's foreign minister have met to discuss Iran's nuclear programme, in the first high-level meeting the two countries have held in years.

Speaking at the General Assembly, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had criticised Israel for not joining a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.

"Nuclear weapons states have the primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament," he said.

"I strongly urge them to comply with this long overdue legal obligation. The fulfilment of nuclear disarment obligations must not be delayed any further or held hostage to non proliferation or the perceived notions of strategic stability."

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