October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Resuming direct peace negotiations will remain the first option of the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.

"We are ready to go back to the negotiations as soon as Israel stops settlement activities," Abbas told a news conference in Ramallah after meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Abbas said he has "seven options" to respond to Israel's expansion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank which caused the U. S.-brokered negotiations to halt after nearly three weeks since it restarted.

He did not reveal the options which are believed to include seeking an international recognition of a Palestinian statehood from the UN Security Council.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sent the delegation "to express the Egyptian people and their government's support to the Palestinian people and their national authority," Aboul Gheit said.

Egypt "condemns the settlement and the behaviors of settlers and supports all the steps you (Abbas) make to defend the Palestinian people's rights," he added.

Cairo has been holding contacts with the United States, and demanding the European Union to increase its role, to put the negotiations back on track, he said.

Earlier this month, the Arab League gave a one-month chance for the international community to convince Israel to stop building settlements on the Palestinian state's future land.


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