Palestinians ready to return to talks, Abbas says
New York - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday he was ready to return to the negotiations with the Israelis, saying he did not want to isolate or delegitimise Israel.
"Here I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organisation is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference... and a complete cessation of settlement activities," he told the UN General Assembly.
But he maintained previous peace talks were "smashed against the rocks of the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September".
The Palestinian leader won huge applause and a standing ovation on Friday from some of the assembly as he entered the hall shortly after asking the UN to admit the state of Palestine.
There was also applause when he paid tribute to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, during his speech to the annual assembly meeting.
And he sought to reassure the Israelis: "Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or delegitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine."
"We only aim to delegitimise the settlement activities, the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard."