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China hopes Damascus summit to strengthen Arab solidarity
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A visiting Chinese official on Thursday expressed the hope that the upcoming Arab summit in Damascus due this weekend would strengthen Arab solidarity and joint action to face current and future challenges.

Sun Bigan, China's Special Envoy on the Middle East, made the remarks at a press conference in Damascus.

"Solidarity among Arab countries and internal unity among Palestinian ranks are of great importance," Sun said, noting that he noticed the recent agreement signed by the two rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas to revive direct dialogue in Yemen's capital Sanaa.

"It is a positive development," said Sun, who came to Damascus to attend the 20th Arab summit on Saturday and Sunday as a representative of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the invitation of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.

"Palestinian internal divisions are not conducive to the Palestinian cause, which would also bring about negative effects on the Middle East peace process," the envoy added.

China advocates that relevant parties of the Middle East issue should resolve their disputes politically through negotiation in accordance with UN resolutions and the land-for-peace principle, he said.

Sun expected that the Damascus summit would deal with problems and challenges facing the Arab nations, as well as solidarity and cooperation among them.

Regional issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and situations in Iraq, Lebanon and Darfur, would be discussed, he added.

"China sincerely hoped that the Arab summit would eliminate differences and expand consensus while planning for the future," said Sun, hoping the summit to yield positive results.

Sun arrived in Damascus on Wednesday for a six-day visit. He would take part in the opening and closing ceremony of the summit.

(Xinhua News Agency March 28, 2008)

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