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Continued talks urged in Mideast peace process
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China's Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Yesui on Tuesday called for continued political talks in efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process.

"We firmly believe that political talks constitute the only correct approach to the Middle East question," Zhang told a plenary session of the UN General Assembly on the questions of Palestine and the Middle East.

Over the last year, there have been positive developments since the Annapolis conference and the Paris international conference on assistance to Palestine, he said.

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have held several rounds of direct talks, negotiation groups of both parties have been in close contact and the international community has made unremitting efforts to promote the peace process, Zhang said.

Although Palestinian-Israeli talks have not achieved anticipated results, the core issue of final status has been explored in an in-depth and frank manner, he said, adding that this will help both sides continuously narrow differences and lay the foundation for a final settlement plan.

The Chinese envoy urged both sides to maintain their faith in adhering to peaceful talks under all circumstances and "strive for a new momentum in the talks."

"China is deeply concerned at the grave security and humanitarian situation in Palestine and worried about the recent renewed eruption of violent conflicts in the Gaza Strip and the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation," he said.

"We urge Israel to actively respond to the UN's appeals and expeditiously allow unimpeded access of humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip," Zhang noted.

The continued construction of settlements by Israel on the West Bank is not only in violation of Israel's obligations under international law, but is also detrimental to guaranteeing Israel's own security, he said.

Zhang appealed to the world community to continue to provide assistance to the Palestinians.

"Apart from alleviating the humanitarian situation, the international community should also vigorously help Palestine to strengthen its capacity-building and accelerate its economic development," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2008)

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