CHINA / National

Transcript of Premier Wen's press conference in Cairo
Updated: 2006-06-19 16:34

Before concluding his official visit to Egypt, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gave a press conference in Cairo on Sunday. It was attended by about 100 reporters from China, major Egyptian media and international news agencies based in Egypt. The following is the transcript of the press conference:

Al Ahram (Egyptian newspaper): What is your comment on the significance of this visit to Egypt? How do you see the future of China-Egypt relations? And what kind of role do you think China can play in the Middle East?

Answer: My visit to Egypt coincides with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Egypt. China and Egypt both have ancient civilizations. As President (Hosni) Mubarak said: "China and Egypt are both creators of human glory and progress and defender of mankind's cultural heritage, and we both pursue lofty values and ideals." This encapsulates China-Egypt relations. Over the past 50 years, China and Egypt have supported and helped each other, and forged a brotherly relationship. During the two-day visit, I have met President Mubarak and had talks with Prime Minister (Ahmed) Nazif, and the Guideline Program between China and Egypt on Deepening Strategic Cooperation was signed between the two sides. We also reached broad agreement on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of mutual interest. I am confident that with our joint efforts, China-Egypt relations will grow in strength and the China-Egypt friendship will be as enduring as the pyramids.

As to what kind of role China will play in the Middle East, my answer is that China will continue to play a positive and constructive role.

Sankei Shinbun of Japan: The conflict between Palestine and Israel is currently the biggest problem in the Middle East. What contribution can China make on this issue? Some parties have imposed sanctions on the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Does China plan to show its support for the Hamas-led Government by giving assistance to it?

Answer: China supports the Middle East peace process and the Roadmap initiative. We believe that the conflict between Palestine and Israel should be settled through dialogue and political negotiation and on the basis of relevant UN resolutions and the principle of "land for peace". China hopes that various factions of Palestine will handle their differences in a calm way and reach consensus on their internal policy through consultation. This will also be conducive to resolving the Palestine-Israel conflict.

China hopes to see a Middle East that is peaceful, stable and growing. The role that China plays is to promote reconciliation and facilitate dialogue among the parties concerned, and we hope that the Palestinians and Israelis will live and pursue development in a peaceful environment.

The current situation in the Middle East and the humanitarian situation of Palestine are a source of concern. China is not in favor of political isolation or economic blockade. The international community should provide more assistance to Palestine and help President (Mahmoud) Abbas and the Palestinian Government achieve internal stability.
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