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China's renewed effort to restart Mideast peace talks

By Yuan Zhenyu (Xinhua)

17:08, June 19, 2013

BEIJING, June 19 (Xinhua) -- China hosted an international conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace this week in a fresh attempt to relaunch the long-stalled talks between the two sides.

Although it is widely recognized that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the core issue in the Middle East, the strenuous and painful steps toward peace have stoked deep skepticism. In the last three years, when most of the world's attention was focused on the turmoil in Libya, Egypt and Syria, the Holy Land was often neglected.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords. Ironically, the two signatory of the deal cannot even sit at the same table today, after direct negotiations broke down in September 2010.

In order to jump-start the talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has made four visits to the region since he assumed office in February. His shuttle diplomacy, however, has produced few tangible results as Israel continues to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank, shutting the door on any possible conversation with the Palestinians.

It's no doubt that the United States is still a main contributor to the peace process, but the Middle East is in an urgent need of a new force.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always been an earnest advocator of the Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The Chinese government has sent special envoys to the Middle East since 2002. And now its new leadership is determined to play a more important and constructive role on the issue.

China's efforts are not to offset any country's political influence, but rather to gather new momentum from the international community to facilitate peace in the region.

The vision is reflected in a four-point peace proposal made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which includes upholding the two-state solution and the "land-for-peace" principle.

While other parties may be talking the talk, Beijing is walking the walk.

Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid successive visits to China. With this symbolic yet meaningful arrangement, the Chinese government gives a new push to the peace process.

During this week's international meeting, China has brought together diplomats from the United Nations and more than 40 countries and regions for discussions on how to resume talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The peace endeavor has earned applause from around the world. Following his latest trip to the region, China's Mideast envoy Wu Sike said that all concerned parties have expressed the hope that China would promote a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hopefully, China's renewed effort for the Mideast peace process is going to make a difference.

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