Middle East Peace Talks At A 'Dead End' Says Palestinian Leadership

"The Palestinian leadership has confirmed it will not return to direct peace negotiations with the Israelis without an extension to the now-expired freeze on settlement construction. The executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) met in Ramallah today to consider its position following the end of the settlement moratorium last weekend. Palestinian negotiators have said repeatedly that they would not continue talks without the freeze being prolonged, and that Israel must choose between settlements and peace. ""The leadership confirms that the resumption of talks requires tangible steps, the first of them a freeze on settlements,"" said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official, after today's meeting. ""The Palestinian leadership holds Israel responsible for obstructing the negotiations."" Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said efforts had reached ""a dead end"". ""There will be no negotiations in the shadow of continued settlement,"" Abu Rdainah said. ""All the while Israel is not convinced that the political process be based on international law and justice, matters will remain in a state of paralysis for a long time."" "