China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi talks during a news conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (not pictured) in Cairo, Aug 3, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]
CAIRO - Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged on Sunday both Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas to stop the ongoing fighting, calling on Israel to lift its blockade of the restive enclave and release the Palestinians.
Wang, who started his two-day visit on Saturday, raised a five-point proposal on ceasefire in Gaza, saying China is a firm supporter and sincere mediator for the peace between the Palestinians and Israel.
Wang called for the two sides to completely cease fire to protect the people’s lives and maintain regional peace. “All movements including airstrikes, ground offensive and launches of rockets should be stopped. Any abuse of force that caused deaths of civilians is unacceptable. All behaviors of violence against violence should be abandoned,” Wang told a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shukry.
He stressed on China’s support for the initiative of truce proposed by Egypt and other countries, urging both the Israeli and the Palestinian side to stop pursuing their unilateral demands by using forces. Both sides should seek for programs with mutual safety through responsible negotiations and establish a necessary security mechanism, he said, adding that during this course, Israel should lift its seven-year-long blockade of the Gaza Strip and release the Palestinians. On the other hand, Israel’s reasonable concerns over its security issues should also be noticed, Wang said.
In mid-July, Egypt proposed an initiative for a cease-fire in Gaza that was initially accepted by Israel. But Hamas rejected it, saying the proposal was not comprehensive and without guarantees for ending the Israeli blockade of the strip.
Wang reaffirmed China’s support for the Palestinian people’s reasonable demands and legal rights to establish an independent state. He noted that the two sides should regard peace talks as an unshakable strategic choice, and try their best to renew dialogues and reach consensus as early as possible, in order to avoid the failure of negotiations and escalation of the confrontation.
The Chinese foreign minister also called for the UN Security Council to take necessary responsibility and play an important role in solving the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict. The international community should also coordinate in promoting the settlement of the issue.
Finally, the world should pay high attention to the humanitarian situation in Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, Wang stressed, adding that the international community should provide necessary aids and supports in time.
“China will grant $1.5 million in emergency humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, while the Chinese Red Cross will also provide humanitarian support towards the Gaza Strip,” Wang noted. “China is willing to work with the international community and to make contributions to ending the Palestine-Israel conflict.”
Shukry highly praised the five-point peaceful proposal, noting that the Chinese stance was in coordination with Egypt’s efforts. The world should welcome China’s voices, he said, stressing expectations for China’s influence in the settlement of the conflict.
Cairo is currently hosting a united delegation of various Palestinian factions, including Fatah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, for talks on the Egyptian bid for a truce in Gaza.
On the 27th consecutive day of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, the death toll on the Palestinian side has reached 1,800, mostly civilians, plus 9,500 wounded. On the other side, Hamas have also killed at least 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians, according to Israeli reports.
China’s efforts on Gaza ceasefire
Aug 3: Chinese FM Wang Yi urged ceasefire in Gaza with five-point proposal and offered $1.5 million emergency humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
July 22: China’s FM spokesman Hong Lei urged the two sides to immediately respond to mediation efforts of the international community and its call for reaching a truce.
July 18: China’s permanent representative to the UN Liu Jieyi urged Israel and Palestine to immediately achieve a ceasefire, avoid any military ground operations and other actions that may lead to further escalation in Gaza.
July 12: Chinese Middle East Special envoy Wu Sike called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians and expressed China’s deep concerns about the escalating conflict between the two sides, which should be resolved through peace talks.