Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

Hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on the Middle East peace process, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday again imposed conditions on peace talks.

Abbas, reacting to Kerry’s remarks, said he was ready to resume peace efforts with Israel if it stops “settlement building”.

"The minute the Israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities... and agrees to implement the signed agreements on the basis of mutual reciprocity, the Palestinian leadership stands ready to resume permanent status negotiations on the basis of international law and relevant international legality resolutions... under a specified timeframe," he said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Abbas has for years refused talks with Israel without preconditions. Most recently he demanded that Israel accept the French peace initiative as a precondition to talks.

Abbas has previously demanded that in exchange for talks, Israel release terrorists from its prisons and agree to a timeline of no more than a year for talks.

Despite the fact that Abbas regularly opposes direct negotiations, Kerry's speech on Wednesday singled out mostly Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned Kerry's speech and pointed out how biased against Israel it was, saying the outgoing Secretary of State was paying only "lip service" to Palestinian violence.

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