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Abbas stresses importance of ending settlement construction

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Palestinian leader is in talks with Israel
  • A settlement moratorium is set to end this weekend

(CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, now embarked on a peace process with israel, urged the importance of halting Israeli settlement construction.

"Israel must choose between peace and the continuation of settlements," said Abbas, who spoke before U.N. General Assembly on Saturday ahead of this weekend's scheduled end to a moratorium over the Jewish state's settlement construction.

The issue of settlement construction is highly controversial and the Palestinians have said a restart by the Israelis would be reason enough to end talks. The United States has pushed Israel to extend the moratorium, but diplomats are concerned that new construction could stop the newly-regenerated peace process.

"Restoring the credibility of the peace process mainly requires compelling the government of Israel to comply with its

obligations and commitments, particularly to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory especially in and around East Jerusalem," he said.