Israel's foreign minister says no to extending West Bank settlement slowdown

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's foreign minister says it's unacceptable to extend the country's West Bank settlement slowdown — even as Mideast peace talks get under way.

Avigdor Lieberman says continued restrictions on construction would "punish" Israelis living in the settlements.

Lieberman suggested Wednesday on Israel Radio that Israel resume construction in major settlement blocs expected to remain in Israeli hands under a future peace deal, while limiting building elsewhere.

A 10-month moratorium on most West Bank construction expires Sept. 26. Israel is under pressure from the U.S. to extend the slowdown.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not said what he will do. If he resumes construction, the Palestinians say they will walk away from peace talks slated to start next week.

But extending the freeze could bring down the conservative Israeli coalition.