Settlement issue is greatest block to resumption of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks: China

09:08, January 20, 2011      

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China on Wednesday urged Israel to "immediately and completely cease" its settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying that "the question of settlement is the greatest block to the resumption of the direct talks" between the Palestinians and Israelis.

The statement came as Wang Min, the deputy Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, was speaking at an open debate of the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.

"At present, the question of settlement is the greatest obstacle to the resumption of the direct talks" between the Palestinians and Israelis, Wang said. "China urges Israel to immediately and completely cease the settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Palestinian leaders ended the U.S.-brokered direct talks with Israel in September, following Israel's refusal to extend a moratorium on settlement construction.

"China hopes that Israel will adopt a serious and responsible approach and create necessary conditions for building mutual trust and restarting peace talks," he said. "China welcomes and supports all the international peace efforts which are conducive to settling the Palestinian-Israeli differences and restarting dialogues and negotiations, so we hope that Palestine and Israel will make common efforts for the early resumption of talks and the achievement of substantial results," he said.

"At present, the situation in the Middle East remains complicated and fragile and is a source of concern," he said. " The international community should continue to push for the political settlement of the question of Palestine. This is not only in line with the universal expectation of the people in the region, including the Palestinians and the Israelis, and that of the international community. It also concerns the lasting peace and security in the Middle East."

"China always maintains that on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions, the principle of 'land for peace,' the Arab peace initiative and the Middle East peace roadmap, Palestine and Israel will settle their differences through dialogue and negotiations and eventually achieve the independent state of Palestine so that Palestine and Israel can coexist in peace," he said.

"The humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially on the Gaza strip, remains harsh and serious, " Wang said. "This is not good for the regional stability, nor is it conducive to creating appropriate conditions for the peace talks between Palestine and Israel."

"We hope that the parties concerned will effectively implement the relevant UN resolutions, lift the blockade on Gaza strip quickly and completely and return to the people of Gaza a normal and respectful space for survival, living and development," he said. "The international community should continue to provide more assistance and support to the Palestinian people."

"China is ready to join hands with all the various parties and continue to play a constructive role for the early achievement of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East," he added.

Source: Xinhua
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