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Jiang in Tunis Urges Israeli Withdrawal
China and Tunisia Wednesday called on Israel to undertake a comprehensive withdrawal from Palestinian territories and for implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Visiting President Jiang Zemin and Tunisian President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali Wednesday said during their talks that both sides oppose Israel's use of military force.

The current Middle East situation was again touched upon in the speeches by Jiang and Ben Ali at Wednesday's welcoming banquet.

Jiang said that China is very much worried about the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the tense Middle East situation, and he said that China also condemns Israel's abuse of its military power and the economic blockade of Palestine and the isolation of President Yasser Arafat.

China strongly urged Israel to immediately implement relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council to withdraw troops from Palestine, lift the blockade of Arafat's headquarters and resolve disputes with Palestine through negotiations.

Jiang said that China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is willing to make efforts together with Arabian countries to ease the tensions so as to restore peace in the region at an early date.

Ben Ali called on the international community to take urgent and decisive steps to protect the Palestinian people and see that their legitimate rights are restored.

On anti-terrorism, Ben Ali reiterated the call for an UN-sponsored international conference to draft a code of conduct to guide the struggle against terrorism and to address the root causes of terrorism.

During the early meeting with Ben Ali, Jiang stressed that with the development of economic globalization, China and Tunisia should enhance bilateral cooperation.

Jiang put forward three suggestions on bilateral ties: increase exchanges and contacts at all levels, especially high levels, between the two sides; expand the channels of bilateral economic and trade cooperation; and increase consultation and coordination between the two sides in the international community so as to protect the rights of developing countries.

Agreeing with Jiang's suggestions, Ben Ali also said that Tunisia admired the great achievements scored by China in its economic and social development, noting that Tunisia is willing to learn from the Chinese success in economic construction.

Ben Ali said that China has made great contributions to the economic development of Tunisia and that the Tunisian people thank China for its assistance in the advancement of agriculture and infrastructure in remote areas of Tunisia, which have improved the local living standard.

(China Daily April 18, 2002)

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