x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

China calls for Palestinian-Israeli peace talks

China also criticised Israel, saying it opposed the use of force, and urged restraint and the respect of sovereignty after Israel launched strikes on Syria.

Chinese president Xi Jinping (left) accompanies Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to view an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Chinese president Xi Jinping (left) accompanies Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to view an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

BEIJING // The Chinese president yesterday urged the Palestinian Authority to hold peace talks with Israel, stressing that Palestinian rights were key to negotiations.

Xi Jinping's comments came during a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the Authority's president, who was on a two-day visit to China.

His trip coincided with a five-day visit by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, which began yesterday.

"So long as the legitimate national rights and interests of the Palestinian people are not restored, peace between Palestine and Israel cannot be realised, let alone regional peace and stability," said Mr Xi.

A month ago, Mr Abbas discussed a revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with John Kerry, the US secretary of state.

China has tried at various times over the years to mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with little success.

Beijing has maintained close relations with the Palestinians for decades.

In recent years, it has also cultivated good ties with Israel, especially in the field of defence.

Mr Xi said his "four-point proposal on the settlement of the question of Palestine" should include a recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

"At the same time, the existence of Israel and its legitimate security concerns should be fully respected," Mr Xi told Abbas.

China also issued veiled criticism of Israel yesterday, saying it opposed the use of force, and urged restraint and the respect of sovereignty after Israel launched strikes on Syria.

"We oppose the use of military force and believe any country's sovereignty should be respected," said Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman.