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Israel's deputy PM welcomes China's Middle East policy


12:26, January 24, 2012

JERUSALEM - Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said on Monday that he welcomes China's policy on the Iranian nuclear issue and Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying that Beijing is contributing to the stability of the Middle East and the world order.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Israeli-Chinese diplomatic relations. Speaking with Xinhua, Meridor said that the bilateral relationship is important to both countries. "The evident development of China into world power on one hand, the advanced scientific, technological, economic abilities of my country on the other hand, are good bases on which we could build good relationship," he said.

"Relations are not only good, but potentially could be even better, in terms of political, economic, and cultural relationship, " Meridor said, stressing that Israel and China have common concerns, and share common interests on many global issues.

Speaking of the recent tensions in the Persian Gulf, Meridor said that Iran's nuclear program must be stopped, so as not to " reach a point of no-return."

"I hope we succeed, but all of us need to do it in a consulted way and with resilience, persistence and leadership," he said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, during a recent official visit to Qatar, said that China firmly opposes Iran producing and possessing nuclear weapons and will work with concerned parties to establish a nuclear-free Middle East.

Also being Israel's Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Meridor agrees with Wen's call for a nuclear-free Mideast, and " this should be done in the Middle East in the context of peace, stability, and acceptance."

"I think this is the time, in the coming months, to show the seriousness, resolve, and persistence of world powers to Iran that they cannot get nuclear (weapons)," he said.

The European Union on Monday decided to impose an oil embargo on Iran, the most severe measure against the country by far. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that a high-ranking team from the nuclear watchdog will visit Iran between January 29 and 31 to discuss the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear program.

Israel and the West have been accusing Iran of developing nuclear bombs. According to the latest IAEA report in November of 2011, "credible" evidence showed that Iran has engaged in projects and experiments relevant to the development of nuclear weapons. But Tehran rejected the report, insisting that its nuclear program was purely for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile, Meridor said that China can help promote the Israeli- Palestinian peace process.

Negotiators from both sides met in Jordan's capital Amman early January in a bid to resume direct peace talks, which have been stalled for over a year. But no concrete results have been achieved in the sessions.

"We are ready to start it (direct negotiations). We want to start it. So far we haven't seen the reciprocity on the Palestinian side." he said. "We need to do it by talking, not by pressuring one another."

But the disagreement and mistrust between the two sides is still in the way. The Palestinians said last week that Israel had not presented any important ideas during the exploratory meetings, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian envoy for not sticking to an agreement to not discuss the talks publicly.


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wende at 2012-01-2471.255.83.*
China should urge Israel to join NPT and allow IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities and stockpile. China ought to have some representatives in IAEA.

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