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China releases paper on its position on Palestinian-Israeli conflict

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BEIJING – The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday released a paper stating China’s position on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The following is the full text:

Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China on Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caused heavy civilian casualties and a serious humanitarian disaster. It is a grave concern of the international community. President Xi Jinping stated China’s principled position on the current Palestinian-Israeli situation on a number of occasions. He stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire and ending the fighting, ensuring that the humanitarian corridors are safe and unimpeded, and preventing the expansion of the conflict. He pointed out that the fundamental way out of this lies in the two-state solution, building international consensus for peace, and working toward a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.

Pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council shoulders primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and should thus play an active and constructive role on the question of Palestine. In this connection, China offers the following proposals:

1. Implementing a comprehensive ceasefire and ending the fighting. Parties to the conflict should truly implement the relevant UNGA and UNSC resolutions and immediately realize a durable and sustained humanitarian truce. Building on UNSC Resolution 2712, the Security Council, in response to the calls of the international community, should explicitly demand a comprehensive ceasefire and end of the fighting, work for deescalation of the conflict, and cool down the situation as soon as possible.

2. Protecting civilians effectively. The UNSC resolution demands in explicit terms that all parties comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians. It is imperative to stop any violent attacks against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law, and avoid attacks on civilian facilities. The Security Council should further send a clear message on opposing forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population, preventing the displacement of Palestinian civilians, and calling for the release of all civilians and hostages held captive as soon as possible.

3. Ensuring humanitarian assistance. All relevant parties must, as per requirements of the UNSC resolution, refrain from depriving the civilian population in Gaza of supplies and services indispensable to their survival, set up humanitarian corridors in Gaza to enable rapid, safe, unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access, and avoid a humanitarian disaster of even greater gravity. The Security Council should encourage the international community to ramp up humanitarian assistance, improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, and support the coordinating role of the United Nations as well as the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in humanitarian assistance, and prepare the international community for supporting post-conflict reconstruction in Gaza.

4. Enhancing diplomatic mediation. The Security Council should leverage its role in facilitating peace as mandated in the UN Charter to demand that parties to the conflict exercise restraint to prevent the conflict from widening and uphold peace and stability in the Middle East. The Security Council should value the role of regional countries and organizations, support the good offices of the UN Secretary General and the Secretariat, and encourage countries with influence on parties to the conflict to uphold an objective and just position so as to jointly play a constructive role in deescalating the crisis.

5. Seeking political settlement. According to relevant UNSC resolutions and international consensus, the fundamental settlement of the question of Palestine lies in the implementation of the two-state solution, restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. The Security Council should help restore the two-state solution. A more broad-based, authoritative and effective international peace conference led and organized by the UN should be held as soon as possible to formulate a concrete timetable and roadmap for the implementation of the two-state solution and facilitate a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. Any arrangement on the future of Gaza must respect the will and independent choice of the Palestinian people, and must not be imposed upon them.

Source(s): Policies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

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Iraqi Shiite militia says calm with U.S. forces ‘temporary tactic’

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The leader of an Iraqi Shiite militia said Sunday that the current period of calm among Iraqi armed groups in their conflict with the U.S. forces is a “temporary tactic” and the Islamic Resistance in Iraq has not abandoned its support for the Palestinians.

Akram al-Kaabi, secretary general of the Iranian-backed al-Nujaba Movement, said in a statement that the current calm is only a tactic for repositioning and deployment. “It is only the calm before the storm.”

He said that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq “is an essential part in the battle to confront the Zionist aggression (the Israeli military campaign) and its supporter America against the Gaza Strip.”

Al-Kaabi also said that there is high-level coordination between different “open fronts” against the Americans and Israelis in the region, stressing that “any calm on one front and ignition on another is an intentional, purposeful and coordinated strategy.”

“Although the Islamic resistance did not reject the government’s negotiations to schedule the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, we affirm that the U.S. occupier is a liar, a deceiver and an arrogant one,” the statement said.

Days after fighting broke out between the Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip on October 7, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq launched rocket, drone and mortar attacks on military bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

On January 27, Iraq and the U.S. began the first round of dialogue to discuss ending the U.S.-led international coalition’s mission in Iraq, but later three U.S. soldiers were killed in an attack on a U.S. base near Jordan’s border with Syria. The U.S. said the attack was carried out by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella term for pro-Iran Shiite Islamic armed groups in Iraq.

The death of the U.S. soldiers prompted the U.S. forces to retaliate by striking some headquarters of Iranian-backed armed groups affiliated with the Iraqi paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, killing and wounding dozens of them.

Later, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq suspended their attacks on U.S. bases to pave the way for the Iraqi government to hold negotiations with the U.S.-led coalition to end their presence in Iraq.

Source(s): CGTN

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U.S., UK launch new wave of strikes against Yemen’s Houthis

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The U.S. and the UK carried out a fresh wave of strikes on Saturday against 18 Houthi targets in Yemen, according to a joint statement, following weeks of attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Iran-backed group.

The strikes “specifically targeted 18 Houthi targets across eight locations in Yemen associated with Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter,” said the joint statement.

It was co-signed by Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand, who gave unspecified “support” to the new round of strikes, the second this month and fourth since the Houthis began their attacks on ships in the region.

“The Houthis’ now more than 45 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November constitute a threat to the global economy, as well as regional security and stability and demand an international response,” the statement said.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah television reported “a series of raids on the capital Sanaa,” while AFP correspondents in the Houthi-controlled city in western Yemen said they heard several loud bangs.

“The United States will not hesitate to take action, as needed, to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said in a separate statement after the strikes.

“We will continue to make clear to the Houthis that they will bear the consequences if they do not stop their illegal attacks, which harm Middle Eastern economies, cause environmental damage, and disrupt the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen and other countries.”

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree was defiant, vowing in a social media statement that the group would “confront the American-British escalation with more qualitative military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arab Seas.”

The UK Ministry of Defense said four Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s targeted “several very long-range drones, used by the Houthis for both reconnaissance and attack missions,” on Saturday at a site north-east of Sanaa.

Saturday’s operation comes after several merchant vessels were struck this week in the region, including the fertilizer-filled Rubymar, whose crew had to abandon ship after it was hit Sunday and began taking on water.

Apart from the joint operations with Britain, the United States has also carried out unilateral strikes against Houthi positions and weaponry in Yemen and downed dozens of missiles and drones in the Red Sea.

Source(s): CGTN

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Gaza ceasefire talks underway in Paris as air strikes continue

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Gaza truce talks were underway in Paris on Friday, marking the most serious push in weeks to halt the fighting in the battered Palestinian enclave and see Israeli and foreign hostages released.

Reuters reported that the talks had begun, with Israel’s head of the Mossad intelligence service meeting separately with each party – Qatar, Egypt and the United States, according to an anonymous source.

“There are budding signs of optimism about moving forward toward the start of serious negotiations,” the source was quoted as saying. Egypt’s Al Qahera TV News also reported that the talks had commenced.

An official from Hamas stated that the militant group had concluded ceasefire talks in Cairo and was now awaiting the outcome of the weekend talks with Israel mediated by others.

Mediators have intensified efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza, aiming to prevent an Israeli assault on the Gaza city of Rafah, where more than a million displaced people are sheltering at the southern edge of the enclave.

Israel has threatened to attack the city if no truce agreement is reached soon. Washington has urged its close ally not to proceed, warning of vast civilian casualties if an assault on the city occurs.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met with Egyptian mediators in Cairo this past week to discuss a truce, marking his first visit since December.

Two Egyptian security sources confirmed that Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel would head to Paris for talks with the Israelis after wrapping up discussions with Haniyeh on Thursday. Israel has not publicly commented on the Paris talks, which are expected to continue through the weekend.

Reuters reported that the militant group did not offer any new proposals at the talks with the Egyptians but was waiting to see what the mediators would bring back from their discussions with the Israelis, citing a Hamas official who requested anonymity.

Ceasefire outline emerged from earlier talks

The last time similar talks were held in Paris, at the start of February, they produced an outline for the first extended ceasefire of the conflict, approved by Israel and the United States. Hamas responded with a counterproposal, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then rejected as “delusional.”

Hamas, believed to still be holding more than 100 hostages seized in the October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the conflict, insists on their release only as part of a truce that includes an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israel, on the other hand, refuses to withdraw until Hamas is eradicated.

Late on Thursday, Netanyahu presented his security cabinet with an official plan for Gaza once the fighting stops. He emphasized that Israel expects to maintain security control over the enclave after destroying Hamas and also sees no role there for the Palestinian Authority (PA) based in the West Bank.

Washington favors a role for a reformed PA.

Two Palestinian officials familiar with the negotiations stated that Hamas has not changed its stance in the latest push to reach a deal and still demands that a truce end with an Israeli pullout.

“Israel’s position and its response to mediation has been negative and this poses many obstacles towards reaching an agreement,” senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said on Friday during a press conference in Beirut.

“Netanyahu is procrastinating… He does not care about the release of his hostages, but rather uses this issue as a card to achieve his goals,” Hamdan said.

At least 29,514 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said on Friday.

Source(s): CGTN

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