RAMALLAH - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said there is an "urgent" need for a UN resolution on Israeli settlements as he embarks on a multi-country tour that may be among his last chances to renew peace efforts.

Speaking in an interview with AFP, Abbas criticised what he said was insufficent action from US President Barack Obama's administration while also firmly backing a French initiative to hold an international peace conference this summer. Abbas spoke ahead of a tour beginning that will take him to Turkey, France, Russia, Germany and New York, where the Palestinians are discussing a UN draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements .