Abbas Backs Down, Will Resume Talks

Calls negotiations a 'strategic choice'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 9:44 AM CST
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, shakes hands with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during their meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem, Wednesday, March 5, 2008. U.S. Secretary...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Fatah Palestinians will resume peace talks with Israel, Mahmoud Abbas said today, recapitulating on his demands that Israel first halt its bloody campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Abbas characterized the peace process as a “strategic choice.” The Palestinian president halted the talks on Sunday after an Israeli attack, and reiterated his demands earlier today, but a flurry of backroom dealings by Condoleezza Rice brought him around.

Israel’s Sunday offensive killed 120 Palestinians, half of them civilians, according to medical workers. After Abbas’ comments, Rice quickly called him, and soon held a press conference saying the talks were back online. She said a special committee would meet next week to review each side’s compliance with the long-ignored “road map,” which talks will be based on.