RAMALLAH, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Israeli policies of settlement expansion and the killing of Palestinians put the peace talks in a negative atmosphere, Wafa news agency reported.
"The policies of the Israeli government cause a failure of the international efforts aiming at achieving peace in the Middle East, " Abbas said during a meeting with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on Saturday night.
He reiterated that the Palestinian side is committed to achieving just and everlasting peace based on the implementation of the international resolutions until the establishment of the Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The direct U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians which is set to run from July to April haven't achieved any tangible progress, according to previous statements of Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Meanwhile, Asselborn stressed his country's support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital and the complete halt of all settlement activities.
"Israel has to completely cease the settlement policy as the settlements are illegal according to the international law as well as give a genuine opportunity for the peace process in order to achieve a genuine two-state solution," Asselborn said at a press conference held with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki in Ramallah.
He called for Israel to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and reopen border crossings given the dire humanitarian conditions in the coastal enclave.