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China calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza
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China on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to take swift action to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui made the appeal at a high-level meeting of the Security Council on the Gaza crisis.

"We hope the Security Council will respond to the will of the international community and the appeals of Arab states, and take swift actions to adopt a resolution so as to send a positive and clear signal to the parties concerned and push for an immediate ceasefire," Zhang told the Council.

The Security Council, which shoulders primary responsibility for maintaining world peace and security, has every reason to play an active role in resolving the conflict in Gaza, he said.

Zhang expressed regret that no result has been achieved at the three emergency meetings held by the council since the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on December 27.

The top priority now is for the parties concerned to achieve an immediate ceasefire to avoid further civilian casualties, he said, urging Israel to halt its military operation immediately and open all the border crossings in Gaza, and the armed Palestinian factions to stop rocket firings.

The cycle of violence does no good to either side and cannot bring security for any party, he noted, calling on both sides to "exercise maximum restraint, exhibit courage and wisdom, and continue to resolve their differences through dialogue."

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and media sources, more than 570 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 2,700 injured since Israel began airstrikes against Gaza last month with the declared aim of ending rocket attacks by Hamas militants on its southern towns.

(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2009)

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