(CHINA-MIDEAST PEACE) Interview: Palestine welcomes China's initiatives to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process: chief negotiator

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-21 22:39:39|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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RAMALLAH, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Palestine welcomes China's peace initiatives to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process under a four-point proposal made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Erekat, also secretary general of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "is keen to mobilize international support and solidarity to the Palestinian cause, especially with influential countries such as China."

"This encouraged China to focus on its plan to play an active role in finding a political solution," Erekat said.

He affirmed that China is qualified for the role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as "a great world power" that enjoys very strong political and economic relations with the region and international community.

"China supports the path of peace in the Middle East, the vision of the two-state, the rights of our people to self-determination, freedom, independence and the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders," Erekat said.

He added that Palestinians are working to maintain and develop the "close relations" with China, which contributes through its membership of international organisations to supporting the rights of Palestinian people.

Erekat lauded the four-point proposal put forward by President Xi during Abbas' visit to Beijing in July, saying it has more content than the previous version Xi made in May 2013 during Abbas' last visit to China.

In the new proposal, Xi not only reiterated China's support for the two-state solution and establishment of an independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, but also introduced two new initiatives.

First, Xi proposed to launch a tripartite dialogue mechanism among China, Palestine and Israel to promote major development projects of assisting the Palestinians.

He promised to take concrete measures to support Palestine's economic development, such as encouraging Chinese companies to invest in Palestine to build industrial parks and solar power plants.

Second, Xi proposed to host a peace symposium on the Israeli-Palestinian peace, to be attended by peace activists from both Israel and Palestine later this year.

Erekat said China's initiatives "will contribute to the launch of a negotiation process based on international legitimacy, the references of international law, the resolutions of the United Nations and the Arab peace initiative."

"We are open to discussing the Palestinian issue in any international forum, especially in China," he added.

Xi's proposal is in line with China's vision of a peaceful and prosperous Middle East as outlined in Xi's speech during his visit to the region last year.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt in January 2016, Xi called for promoting peace in the Middle East through helping boost regional economic development as an innovative way to overcome poverty and terrorism in the region.

Middle East countries were also invited to create more jobs and lift more people out of poverty through active participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The grand Chinese initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, refers to building a Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes for common development and prosperity.