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Political talks represent only way toward Mideast peace
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Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said Tuesday that political negotiations represent the only way toward ensuring peace in the Middle East.

He made the remarks at a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council, during which a resolution expressing the council's support for continued Palestine-Israel peace talks was adopted.

He said that since the Annapolis process was launched in November last year, political negotiations between Palestine and Israel have met with difficulties and failed to achieve major breakthroughs according to the set timetable.

"It is a common challenge of the international community to ensure that the negotiating process forges ahead and achieves substantive progress," he said. "The council meeting will play a positive role in taking up this common challenge."

"It is the consistent view of China that political negotiations represent the sole, viable and correct path toward ensuring peace in the Middle East," he stressed.

Under the new circumstances, China expects both parties to speedily converge momentum for negotiations, work on the basis of relevant UN resolutions as well as the principle of "land for peace," and through negotiations attain at an early date the prospect of two countries living side by side in peace, he said.

He urged both parties to implement in earnest their respective obligations and refrain from undertaking actions that might undermine mutual trust or prejudge results of negotiations.

The construction of settlements by Israel in West Bank as well as imposing embargo and blockade in Gaza is not conducive to creating an enabling environment for negotiations, he noted.

He also called on the international community to continue to provide assistance and actively support Palestine in its capacity building and speeding up economic development.

"China is ready and willing to work with the international community and play a constructive role in seeking a proper settlement to the Middle East question at an early date and realizing a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2008)

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