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Hague in call to rejoin peace talks

Foreign Secretary William Hague has urged the Palestinians to rejoin Middle East peace talks despite "disappointing" Israeli settlement activity.

Mr Hague, who will next week discuss the situation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, made the case in a routine phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"I made clear to President Abbas that I was very disappointed by the settlement activity in East Jerusalem this week," he said.

"However I continue to believe that the current talks offer a genuine chance to make progress, and that the priority of all parties should be returning to them as soon as possible."

The talks broke down in September when the Israelis refused to extend a moratorium on settlement building despite international appeals.

This week, Tel Aviv announced plans to build new homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.

Mrs Clinton has secured agreement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek the resumption of the talks.

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