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Foreign minister's trip focuses on Middle East peace, growth

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-17 07:11
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Foreign Minister Qin Gang (second from left) meets for talks with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul-Gheit (second from right) in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday. WANG DONGZHEN/XINHUA

Qin urges respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity

China's Middle East policy, the Palestine issue and prospects for China-Arab cooperation were high on the agenda of Foreign Minister Qin Gang's trip to Egypt.

When meeting with reporters, along with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in Cairo on Sunday, Qin elaborated on China's Middle East policy.

China believes that the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries in the region should be respected, and it encourages dialogue and consultation among them to seek solutions to major issues, he said.

Beijing urges more support for the development of countries in the region and greater unity in the fight against terrorism, he added.

Countries outside the region are urged to avoid intervening in regional countries' domestic affairs, seeking unilateralism or creating divides among cultures, he warned.

Speaking on the Palestine issue, Qin said that the stalled Israel-Palestine peace talks and the failure to achieve a two-state solution are behind the frequent escalation of the situation.

The international community should "increase its sense of urgency and prioritize the Palestine issue on the international agenda" to push for resumption of the peace talks and a fair and lasting solution to the Palestine issue based on the two-state solution, he said.

"Major countries with great influence should shoulder their responsibility for this," he said.

Beijing calls on the parties involved to exercise calm and restraint, and avoid further escalation of tension, and Israel in particular should stop any provocations and any unilateral moves that may worsen the situation, he added.

Wu Bingbing, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Peking University, said, "There are two basic elements behind China's positions on Middle East. First, is to resolve issues through a peaceful, diplomatic approach and the second is to focus on the role of development in security issues and boost security through growth."

Dong Manyuan, a senior fellow on Middle East studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said China has offered a series of proposals and fresh ideas on issues in the Middle East, and has sent special envoys on mediating missions in the region.

"All these efforts constitute tangible actions responding to the prevailing questions among Arab states about peace," he added.

Egypt was the final destination of Qin's five-stop new year visit to the African continent, which started on Jan 9.

As the capital of an Arab state and an African country, Cairo is also home to the headquarters of the League of Arab States.

Further advancing China-Arab cooperation in various fields was high on the agenda when Qin met on Sunday with Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary-general of the League of Arab States.

The secretary-general expressed appreciation for China's longstanding dedication to international justice and its support for Arab countries' growth and the group's unity.

Over a month ago, China and Arab states held their first leaders' summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where a landmark outline was issued of a comprehensive cooperation plan encompassing 182 cooperative measures in 18 fields such as politics, the economy, trade and investment.

At the summit, President Xi Jinping also proposed eight major joint actions for China-Arab pragmatic cooperation, covering eight areas including development, security, along with 56 detailed cooperative measures.

Speaking to reporters, Qin said China will build effective working mechanisms with the Arab states to implement these cooperative measures.

When talking about the consensus reached between Beijing and Cairo during his visit to Egypt, Qin said the two sides agreed to further their mutual support on issues involving their core interests and major concerns, and expand cultural exchanges.

The two countries will work closer on pushing for the political settlement of regional hot spot issues and jointly promote the common interests of developing countries, he added.

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