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Palestinian President Talks Mideast Peace At U.N.

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Mideast peace process in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.

President Abbas said he’s committed to peace talks, but there will be no deal unless Israel stops building settlements in territories the Palestinians want to claim for a future state.

The speech came as activists clashed with Israeli security forces in a West Bank anti-settlement protest.

Restrictions on Israeli settlement construction expire on Sunday. Negotiations are underway to reach a compromise.

Earlier in the General Assembly, President Barack Obama also stressed the importance of Mideast peace.

“We can read familiar lists of grievances. We can table the same resolutions. We can further empower the forces of rejectionism and hate,” Obama said.

The president said that both the Israelis and Palestinians could say that “this time will be different” and stressed that if both sides worked toward progress “we could have an agreement” that would lead to an independent Palestine state becoming a United Nations member state.

“If an agreement is not reached…the hard realities of demography will take hold. More blood will be shed,” Obama said. “The Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity.”

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