Xi Jinping deplores “extremely serious” situation in Gaza

Xi Jinping deplores “extremely serious” situation in Gaza
Xi Jinping deplores “extremely serious” situation in Gaza
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May 29, 2024 – 5:29 p.m.

(Keystone-ATS) Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday that China was “deeply saddened” by the “extremely serious” situation in the Gaza Strip, according to state media. Israel is still shelling the enclave.

Mr. Xi made these remarks on the eve of a China-Arab countries forum organized in Beijing and intended to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties with the Middle East, a region where the influence of the Asian giant is growing.

Israel is still bombing the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, ignoring international condemnations after attacks on Palestinian displaced camps in Rafah, which left more than 65 dead according to Hamas.

“This new episode of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused a large number of victims among innocent Palestinian civilians and the humanitarian situation in Gaza is extremely serious,” Mr. Xi told his guest during a meeting in Beijing, after Chinese public television CCTV.

“China is deeply saddened by this,” the Chinese president told Mr. Sissi, whose country traditionally plays a leading role in the Palestinian issue.

China-Arab Cooperation Forum

Abdel Fattah al-Sissi is currently on a state visit to China, where he is scheduled to attend a meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum on Thursday.

Among the leaders who will be present also include the President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and that of Tunisia, Kais Saied. On the menu of discussions will notably be the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“Prevent the conflict from spreading”

In the past 24 hours, 75 Palestinians have died in Israeli military operations in Gaza, bringing the death toll to at least 36,171, mostly civilians, in the besieged territory, according to data from the Health Ministry on Wednesday. of the Hamas administration.

“The top priority now is that an immediate ceasefire is put in place, to prevent the conflict from spreading, impacting regional peace and stability and preventing a humanitarian crisis. even more serious,” Xi Jinping declared to his Egyptian counterpart on Wednesday.

Egypt, with Qatar and the United States, have been engaged for months in talks aimed at obtaining a lasting truce in Gaza, accompanied by the release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

Sissi welcomed with great fanfare

“China appreciates the important role played by Egypt in calming the situation and delivering humanitarian aid,” Xi Jinping said on Wednesday. “It is ready to work with Egypt to continue providing assistance to the people of Gaza within its capabilities and to work towards a rapid, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question.”

Xi Jinping welcomed Abdel Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday during a ceremony with great fanfare in Beijing, in front of the immense People’s Palace which overlooks Tiananmen Square.

For “a common Sino-Arab voice”

China maintains good relations with Israel but has supported the Palestinian cause for decades and advocates for a two-state solution.

Beijing has in recent years strengthened its trade and diplomatic relations with the Middle East, much of which is traditionally under American influence.

China thus supervised and facilitated the spectacular diplomatic rapprochement last year between two major regional powers, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Xi Jinping is due to deliver a speech on Thursday during the opening ceremony of this meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, which aims to establish “consensus” between Beijing and the region. Chinese diplomacy said it hoped that this conference would “make a common Sino-Arab voice heard” on the Palestinian question.

“Strengthening Chinese reputation”

China sees a “strategic opportunity to strengthen its reputation and its position in the Arab world” by helping to find a solution to this conflict that Washington has failed to resolve, judges Ahmed Aboudouh, analyst at the British think tank Chatham House. “This allows Beijing to undermine the credibility and influence of the United States in the region.”

Proof of its growing commitment to the issue, China announced at the end of April that it had welcomed representatives of Hamas and Fatah, two Palestinian groups that are tearing each other apart, in order to promote “intra-Palestinian reconciliation”.

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