CHINA / National

China demands Israel, Lebanon ensure safety of UN peacekeepers
Updated: 2006-08-07 06:20

China on Sunday demanded Israel and Lebanon ensure the safety of UN peacekeepers as three of its UN peacekeepers in Lebanon were wounded when a mortar round landed near their headquarters in southern Lebanon.

"China is seriously concerned and strongly displeased with the incident," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

He said China has made representations with the parties involved in the Lebanon-Israel clash and demanded they take concrete measures to ensure the safety of UN peacekeepers.

The incident happened at 11:55 am local time on Sunday, sources with the Chinese UN peacekeepers said. The three wounded received treatment in hospital.

Qin said the Chinese government has sent greetings to the wounded peacekeepers and asked relevant parties to continue to provide timely and necessary treatment.

Four UN observers including one Chinese national, Lieutenant Colonel Du Zhaoyu, were killed on July 25 in an Israel air raid on a UN post in southern Lebanon.

In the statement, Qin also urged Israel and Lebanon to cease fire immediately and return to the negotiation table to solve the conflict in a political way.

Earlier on Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also called on parties concerned to cease fire immediately and settle the clash through dialogue.

Li told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a phone conversation that China is deeply concerned with the current conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah which has lasted four weeks.

He said China hopes the UN Security Council takes actions to prevent the conflict from further escalating.

Meanwhile, Li said that China will continue to make efforts to help solve the conflict.

China has provided humanitarian aid to Lebanon and China's special envoy has also departed for the Middle East.

Some 180 Chinese military officers and engineers as well as three observers, including Lieutenant Colonel Du, were working in southern Lebanon, as part of the UN peacekeeping mission, according to diplomatic sources.


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