Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas will consult Arab governments next week before deciding whether to continue talks with Israel following the end of the settlement freeze, his spokesman said Monday.


“Before October 4 there will not be an official Palestinian answer,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP in Paris, where Abbas was due to hold talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“During that day president Abbas will consult with the Arab governments and will come back to the Palestinian leadership to take the right decision and the right answer, with all what we have from the Americans and the Israelis.”

Abbas had previously warned that Palestinian negotiators will break off peace talks with Israel if Jewish settlers resume settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

A moratorium on settlement building expired at midnight on Sunday and, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for settlers to show “restraint”, Israel has not ordered a new freeze.

“We are in continuous contact with the US administration and US efforts are continuing, but we are waiting for a final Israeli position so that we can form a clear and final response,” Abu Rudeina said.

“Any Palestinian decision concerning any political decision will not be before October 4, the day of the meeting of the Arab follow-up committee,” he said, referring to a panel comprising key Arab powers.

“During that day the Palestinian leadership and the Arab follow-up committee will meet in Cairo in order to discuss the latest developments.

“Concerning what was said yesterday in Israel our position is clear and obvious. We are ready for serious negotiations, but the settlement activity should stop immediately. This is the only way to continue fruitful talks.”