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UPDATE: Abbas insists Mideast peace deal must be 'permanent'

Palestinian president calls on international community to condemn actions that 'undermine negotiations,' naming continued Israeli settlement construction in Jerusalem

AFP , Thursday 26 Sep 2013
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Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas demanded on Thursday that any peace deal with Israel be permanent, calling new US-brokered talks a "last chance."

Speaking before the UN General Assembly, Abbas urged international pressure to stop Israeli settlement building 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.

Abbas, who has frequently turned to the United Nations to build support, began his speech by voicing pride at being introduced as "president of the state of Palestine" – following a UN vote in November to grant it observer status.

Abbas said that 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 units.

"The international community is asked to remain alert to condemn and stop any actions on the ground that would undermine negotiations," Abbas said.

"I refer here, above all, to the continuation of settlement construction on our Palestinian land, particularly in Jerusalem," he said.

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