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China calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Israel and Hamas should agree to a ceasefire immediately and mitigate the humanitarian crisis, Sun Bigan, China's special envoy on the Middle East issue, told reporters Thursday.

Voicing deep concern over ongoing turbulence in the region, Sun said achieving an immediate ceasefire was urgent. Israel should stop military operations in Gaza immediately and Hamas should stop firing rockets at Israel.

"If the two sides cease fire, the situation will not deteriorate, more lives will not be harmed and the necessary conditions for a political solution can be created," Sun said.

He also suggested that on the basis of a ceasefire and humanitarian crisis mitigation, all sides should find ways to achieve a durable ceasefire, supervisory mechanism and humanitarian aid, so as to create a sustainable and stable situation.

Since Israel launched large-scale military operations on Dec. 27, the conflict in the Gaza Strip has resulted in heavy casualties and material losses, especially the death of civilians.

About 700 people have been killed and some 3,000 others wounded in Gaza during the 13-day conflict and the death toll is expected to rise. Ten Israelis have been killed so far, including six soldiers.

"China is deeply concerned over the intense situation and turbulence in the region, as well as the humanitarian crisis. China regrets the heavy civilian casualties and strongly condemns the acts that lead to such a situation," Sun said.

"As China's special envoy to the region, I have paid close attention to the situation and communicated with all relevant sides. It is extremely urgent to stop the military operations and conflicts to prevent civilian casualties," he said.

Sun urged the international community and relevant sides to strengthen coordination and establish stable channels to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza as soon as possible.

He also urged the parties involved to heed the appeals of the international community and make acceptable arrangements on border security, open crossings to Gaza, end blockades and achieve a durable ceasefire, in a bid to stabilize the situation.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting but failed to reach an accord.

After talks with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Moubarak on Tuesday announced a proposal for an immediate truce in Gaza, which called for the opening of safe corridors for relief supplies into Gaza, and invited Israelis and Palestinians to meet urgently to discuss the prevention of a resumption of violence.

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev said Israel could accept the offer if it would stop "hostile fire" from Gaza. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also expressed his support for the plan. Osama Hamdan, a Hamas representative in Lebanon, said the organization is considering the proposal.

"China welcomes the Egyptian proposal, and the international community should attach importance to it," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press conference here Thursday.

Qin added China will work with the international community to end the conflict as soon as possible, restart the dialogue and promote the peace process in the Middle East, so as to find a proper and durable solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Sun said Chinese leaders exchanged views with relevant sides over the situation. China also conducted close contact and consultation with other parties in the UN Security Council.

On Dec. 30. China offered 1 million U.S. dollars in emergency humanitarian aid to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and it was considering other assistance

The special envoy also called for an early resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, in a bid to pursue a just, proper and lasting solution to the Middle East issue.

"The Gaza conflict proves again that military means are not the way out for resolving Palestinian-Israeli disputes. Military force could only bring more hostility and enmity, without giving either side absolute safety," he said.

Sun said international society and relevant parties, when endeavoring to ease the tense situation, should also consider carrying out feasible actions to accelerate the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, to establish an independent Palestinian state at an early date, and to realize peaceful coexistence.

This would help prevent a repeat of the Gaza conflict, he noted.

China urges Security Council to push for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Zhang Yesui, Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations, attends the meeting on Gaza crisis held by Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Jan. 6, 2009.

Zhang Yesui, Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations, attends the meeting on Gaza crisis held by Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Jan. 6, 2009.(Xinhua/Hou Jun)Photo Gallery>>>

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to take swift action to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui made the appeal at a high-level meeting of the Security Council on the Gaza crisis. Full story

Int'l community calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

BEIJING, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The international community has over the past two days continued to condemn Israel's ground invasion of the Gaza Strip following days of intensive airstrikes, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the volatile region.

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said Monday his country would offer 300,000-U.S. dollars worth of humanitarian aid to people in the Gaza Strip. Full story


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