Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated on Wednesday that peace talks held between chief Palestinian negotiator, Ahmad Qorea’, and the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, are tackling all important issues, including Jerusalem, settlements, refugees security and borders, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.Abbas added that he hopes that the talks would lead to an agreement during this year, and slammed settlements constructions in the occupied West Bank, military roadblocks and invasions.

He added that these violations are blocking the chance to achieve a peace deal by the end of 2008.

 Meanwhile, senior aide to president Abbas stated that the president will visit the US in April in an attempt to advance peace talks with Israel. The US yet did not confirm or deny this visit while several officials said that they are checking these reports.

US President George Bush is expected to conduct his second visit to the region in May as he conducted his fist visit in January. He is expected to meet president Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

 Moreover, Haaretz reported that Palestinian officials and several western diplomats stated that US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, is expected to visit the region later this month in order to hold talks with Abbas and Olmert.

 A senior official close to president Abbas stated on Wednesday that Rice will meet Abbas in Jordan on March 30 following the Arab Summit which will be held in Syria. Afterwards, Rice will visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories for talks with Olmert and Abbas.

 Abbas is also planning to visit Russia on April 20 before a planned trip to the United States. He will be holding follow-up talks regarding the Annapolis Summit.