Ministry of Defence said:Following the telephone conversation with Mr Mahmoud Abbas today, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said:
President Abbas and I had a productive conversation today. I reaffirmed our strong support for President Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and for the Palestinian Authority. We are in no doubt that President Abbas is a courageous man of peace. President Abbas and I discussed our shared profound concern at Israel’s recent settlement announcements, which the Foreign Secretary has condemned in the strongest terms. I expressed appreciation for the measured response of the Palestinian Leadership, and asked the President to engage in a renewed effort - led by the United States with full European support - to achieve a just and permanent solution to this conflict. I welcomed President Abbas’s determined commitment to maintain security co-operation in the West Bank, despite the serious financial pressures on the Palestinian Authority.
The UK continues to urge both sides to show the political will and leadership needed to bring about peace and to refrain from any steps that would make the two state solution, or a return to negotiations, more difficult. We agreed that the New Year offered new opportunities to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by negotiation, and reiterated our determination to do all that we can to make next year decisive. We expressed the shared hope that 2013 will be the ‘year of peace’ for Palestinians, Israelis and all people of the region.[h=4]Further Information[/h]Foreign Secretary statement condemning Israels decision to build new settlements.
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