Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Arab News
January 14, 2010 - 1:00am§ion=0&article=131206&d=14&m=1&y=2010

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China called on Israel on Wednesday to comply with UN resolutions and create a conducive atmosphere to restart peace talks.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, addressing a joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, said Israel was trying to prevent a settlement of the Middle East conflict and warned Tel Aviv against “swallowing Palestinian lands.”

Prince Saud said the main reason behind the continuing Palestinian-Israeli crisis was Israel’s refusal to accept logical terms for peace. He said that five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which includes China, together with non-member Germany (called the 5+1 grouping), should put in more efforts to bring the peace negotiations back on track. The Chinese foreign minister echoed Prince Saud’s views and said that “Beijing would exert all efforts to help restart peace talks.”

“China will continue to support the Palestinians in their bid to establish an independent state,” said Yang.

On the issue of the Iranian nuclear standoff, Prince Saud said the Kingdom favored a settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy and dialogue. He and Yang called on Tehran to roll back its nuclear program. They also asked Iran to abide by the provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We expect a positive response from Iran,” said Prince Saud, adding that every country has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

China, Yang said, has always closely followed the developments in the Middle East and actively supported the efforts for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in this region.

Yang pointed out that Beijing and all member states of the Arab League would hold a ministerial meeting in June this year within the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum to hold consultations on issues of mutual interest. The Chinese minister thanked Prince Saud for accepting an invitation to attend the forum in China.

Prince Saud expressed hope that the situation in Iraq would improve after the general elections. The Chinese minister said Beijing would help support reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

The prince also pointed out that he had extensive discussions with his Chinese counterpart on the modalities of UN reforms.


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