China’s foreign minister told his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts that his country is ready to help facilitate peace talks between the two sides in its latest attempt to mediate in the region.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement released late on Monday that Qin Gang expressed China’s concern over rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and its support for the resumption of peace talks in separate phone calls to the two officials on Monday.
Last month, Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an agreement to restore diplomatic ties with China, which were severed in 2016. It was a dramatic moment of diplomacy for China that Beijing touted as evidence of its ability to be a diplomatic player in the Middle East.
Qin stressed in his conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that Saudi Arabia and Iran set a good example of resolving differences through dialogue, a statement about that phone call said.
He told Cohen that Beijing encourages Israel and the Palestinians to show political courage and take steps to resume peace talks. “China is ready to facilitate this,” he had said.
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Israel and the Palestinians have not held concrete peace talks to end more than a decade of conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government remains committed to expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank – which most of the international community considers illegal and an obstacle to peace – and many of his key allies staunchly oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state. are doing.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said Cohen expressed his country’s commitment to reducing tensions, but said the problem appears difficult to resolve.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Qin and Cohen “discussed the importance of keeping calm at the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month, especially the final days of Ramadan, but made no mention of peace talks with the Palestinians.” “
It said Cohen conveyed “the danger he sees in Iran’s nuclear program” and called on China to help prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Qin also told Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki that China stood ready to play an active role in the resumption of talks, a second statement said.
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On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin confirmed Qin’s contact with the two officials. “It’s never too late to do the right thing,” he said.
This month, violence has escalated in Israel and the West Bank, fueled by Israeli police raids on the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site. The Israeli army struck targets in southern Lebanon linked to the Palestinian group Hamas and the Gaza Strip after militants fired rocket salvos at Israel in two areas. The mosque is located on top of a hill revered as the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism.
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