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China stresses UN's role to end violence
( 2003-12-17 01:06) (China Daily)

China yesterday called on the international community to show greater courage, wisdom and resolve in helping Palestinians and Israelis abandon violence and continue peace talks.

Addressing the opening session of the United Nations Meeting for Asia and the Pacific on the Question of Palestine, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo made three proposals to advance stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

First, efforts should be continued to ensure the United Nations plays its due role in this conflict, he said, adding that no peace or harmony would ever be sustained in the Middle East in the absence of the United Nations.

Dai said the relevant Security Council resolutions and the principle of "Land for Peace'' constituted the basis for a political settlement of the Middle East issue.

Second, to uphold neutrality and justice in international mediation, it is imperative for the international community to strictly observe the principle of neutrality, objectivity and justice without favouring either party.

Meanwhile, the reasonable concerns and requirements of Palestine and Israel must be taken seriously with equal attention and care, he stressed.

Third, the role of civil society must be brought into full play. Dai said that the academic and business communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other members of civil society have their unique role to play in appealing for peace and facilitating dialogue.

This is evident in the Geneva Accord agreed upon earlier this month, thanks to the creative efforts by civil society in both Israel and Palestine.

In mid-October, 2003, a group of Israelis and Palestinians proposed a "virtual'' final status peace agreement in Geneva called the "Geneva Accord,'' which is regarded widely as an important development, though it is unofficial.

"The Accord represents a positive and useful endeavour, as it echoes the appeal for peace from both parties and casts fresh light on the problem,'' said Dai.

Kim Hak-su, executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and representative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, echoed Dai yesterday, saying that this civil dialogue proves that it is possible to find imaginative solutions to thorny issues, and offers a detailed plan to resolve the conflict in a comprehensive manner.

He welcomed the UN Security Council's unanimous endorsement of the "roadmap" in Resolution 1515.

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