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FM: China Offers Condolences for Death of Yeltsin
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The Foreign Ministry yesterday extended China's deepest condolences to Russia for the death of its former President Boris Yeltsin, calling the departed statesman a "sincere friend" of the Chinese people.


Tirelessly devoted to improving the friendship between China and Russia, Yeltsin made "remarkable" contributions to improving bilateral ties while in office, ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.


As president, Yeltsin oversaw the creation of a strategic cooperative partnership, solved border disputes and helped boost all-round cooperation, Liu added.


Born on February 1, 1931, Yeltsin worked as a construction worker, Communist Party official before being elected Russian president in 1991. He was elected for a second term in 1996 but stepped down on December 31,1999, giving power to Vladimir Putin, saying that Russia should enter the new millennium under new leadership.


Turning to the Korean Peninsula nuclear standoff, Liu announced that a cooperative agenda is maintained between all parties.


All concerned have reiterated their commitment in the joint document signed at the end of the 5th round of six-party talks on February 13, and China holds these important commitments in the highest regards.


Some technical problems remain in transferring the funds of North Korea, but the relevant parties are working to bring this issue to a close at an early date, he added.


In another development, Liu condemned in the strongest terms a violent armed attack on a Chinese oil company site in Ethiopia.


Nine Chinese and 65 Ethiopians working for the company were killed while seven other Chinese were kidnapped in the attack by more than 200 unidentified gunmen, according to Liu.


The attack began around 6 AM local time on Tuesday with 200 gunmen making a surprise attack on the company, located at Abole, around 120 km away from Jijiga, capital of Somali State.


"The Chinese government strongly condemns this atrocious armed attack, mourns for the Chinese and Ethiopian victims and expresses deep sympathies to their families and those injured in the attack," he said.


Liu revealed the formation of a crisis taskforce comprisedĀ of elements from the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Commerce, the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia and the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau whose employees were targeted in the incident.


He stated that China had asked Ethiopia to take all possible measures to ensure the security of Chinese agencies in the country whilst pledging full help in resolving the attack.


(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2007)

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