ABU DHABI (AFP/Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Saturday demanded a total Israeli freeze on work on West Bank settlements after a difficult meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is struggling to revive stagnant peace talks. Israel should honour its obligations especially with regard to the total halt on the settlements, Abbas told reporters after the meeting in Abu Dhabi, adding that no breakthrough had been reached. The problem with the Israeli government is that it refuses to stop building settlements, he said. The Palestinians chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP the US delegation informed them that Israel rejected calls for a complete freeze on settlement construction in the whole West Bank, including annexed Arab East Jerusalem. The gap between us was very deep and is widening even more, he admitted, adding that the meeting was frank and difficult. Abbas told Hillary the Palestinians will not agree to resume peace talks without a complete freeze on Jewish settlement construction, Erakat said. The offer which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made in talks with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell in Jerusalem on Friday does not include a complete freeze on settlement activities, Erakat said. Mitchell joined Hillary in Abu Dhabi for her talks with Abbas. Israeli officials declined to comment on Abbas renewed insistence on a complete settlement freeze prior to those talks. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said only that peace negotiations should be launched in the coming weeks. It is essential that both sides make an effort to start the negotiations. This is a unique opportunity. A deadlock would only serve Hamas and the radical elements in the region, Baraks office quoted him as saying. But Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina blamed Israels intransigence for the failure to relaunch peace talks, halted last December after Israel launched a deadly offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The Palestinian leader said prospects for relaunching negotiations have been further complicated by Israels intensification of settlement activity in East Jerusalem. The question (of Jerusalem) was at the centre of discussions with Mrs Clinton, he said, adding that Jerusalem is threatened and peace starts in Jerusalem. Without Jerusalem, there will be no point in peace, he warned, saying that the American administration, in addition to being a mediator, has to press Israel (to respect) its commitments including in Jerusalem whose annexation is not recognised by the United Nations or the international community. Israel captured East Jerusalem with the rest of the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. A senior State Department official said Hillary hoped to get a clear picture of where the two sides stand before she meets Arab foreign ministers at a development summit in Morocco next week to try to drum up regional support for peace moves. She reported to the president last week that the process is going through a difficult patch and she is using the opportunity, being in the region, to consult with the leaders, see where they are, and how we can get the process moving forward again, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.