Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, April 01, 2002

China Deeply Concerned About Middle East Situation

The Chinese government is deeply concerned about the sudden deterioration in the Middle East situation, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said Sunday.


Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Sunday urged immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's residence and called for Arafat's personal safety to be ensured.

Meanwhile, China opposes and condemns the recent violent activities in Israeli territory, and China expresses condolence, sympathy and solicitude to the family members of the victims, saidTang.

Tang made the remarks in a phone conversation with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

Tang said that the abrupt escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine has caused huge casualties and property losses, and Arafat's personal safety was severely endangered.

The Chinese government is deeply concerned about the sudden deterioration in the Middle East situation, Tang said.

Arafat, as leader of the Palestinian people and one of the initiators of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, has made great efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process, Tang said, stressing that disastrous consequences would happen to the Middle East region if unexpected incidents took place to Arafat's safety.

Tang expressed his hope that Israel will implement Resolution 1402 of the United Nations Security Council unconditionally, withdraw its troops completely from Palestinian areas and solve the problems through peaceful means.

Tang asked Israel to do so in order to serve the overall requirement of security and stability in the Middle East as well as Israel's own long-term interest.

The pressing matter of the moment is that Israel and Palestine should both exercise maximum restraint and adopt concrete measuresto stop the conflict immediately and create conditions for resumption of the peace talks, Tang said.

Peres briefed Tang on the latest development of the conflict between the two sides. In response to Tang's enquiry, he expressedthat Israel is willing to promise to the international community that Israel will not threaten Arafat's personal safety and will not destroy the Palestine National Authority.

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