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Chinese state councilor on Iraq and Middle East situation
( 2003-11-03 22:33) (Xinhua)

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan on Monday expounded on China's stance on the Iraq issue and the Middle East situation when meeting with Sukru Sina Gurel, former deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkey.

Tang said the situation in Iraq was still in turmoil, and frequent bombings had incurred heavy casualties on innocent people, which severely hindered the reconstruction process and had a negative influence on neighboring nations.

China held that it should be the top priority to restore stability and normal social order in Iraq, he said.

He said the United Nations Security Council had passed Resolution 1551, which was a positive step toward Iraq's early resumption of sovereignty and the UN playing a bigger role there. The international community should put more effort into implementing the resolution.

Tang noted that Iraq's independence, reunification and territorial integrity should be safeguarded, and Iraq's new government should adopt a policy of befriending its neighbors.

China attached importance to Iraq's reconstruction and hoped that the international community and the Iraqi people would find peace, stability and development at an early date.

Tang said tensions had resumed in the Middle East as Israel and Palestine returned to "violence for violence", causing the peace process to come to a halt.

He said China showed great concern for and worried about the present situation. China held that refraining from violence, building mutual trust and maintaining dialogue were the only way to resolve the conflict, while resorting to force would lead only to more hatred.

China hoped both sides would exercise restraint and cooperate with the international community's peace efforts and return to resolving disputes through negotiations.

Gurel agreed with Tang on his points.

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