Abbas Rebuffs Rice on Talks

Rice urges Abbas: don't let extremists win
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 3:00 AM CST
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in the Palestinian presidential headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to commit to resuming peace talks with Israel yesterday despite entreaties from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the New York Times reports. "I call on the Israeli government to halt its aggression so the necessary environment can be created to make negotiations succeed," Abbas said.

The leaders met two days after Abbas suspended negotiations in the midst of Israel’s Gaza offensive following a Hamas rocket attack. Rice said after the meeting that she understood the situation, but “we must keep our eye on what we’re trying to achieve.” Abbas did not completely discount the idea of continuing talks, but refused to say when they might start up again.