Abbas eyes China’s role in peace process with Israel

Ramallah, May 3 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Friday said he will let the Chinese leaders know the barriers currently rooted in Palestinians’ talks with Israel, as he expects Beijing’s contribution to the stalled peace process, reported Xinhua.

Abbas told Xinhua at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah that he will update China’s new leadership about “where we are” in the political track in the Middle East, and “what are the obstacles that block this track and what is the role that some countries like the US is to be matched.”

Abbas is set to pay a state visit to China on May 5-7 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also visit China as a guest of Premier Li Keqiang from May 6 to 10.

As Abbas spoke to Xinhua, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday that China is willing to offer necessary assistance if the leaders of Palestine and Israel have the will to meet in China.

“We coordinate all our positions with China all the time. We always demand from China to keep their positive stances and they do their best to help as a permanent member in the (UN) Security Council,” said the Palestinian leader.

On Netanyahu’s simultaneous visit, Abbas said: “It is very good that Netanyahu will visit China too because it is a good opportunity that the Chinese listen to both of us.”

“Once China as a great country has ties with Israel, we will be satisfied because China is our friend too and can be influential on all tracks and levels, mainly the political and economic ones,” said Abbas.

He noted that he will also ask the Chinese leadership “to use its relationship with Israel to remove the obstacles that obstruct the Palestinian economy, such as obstacles … (for) Chinese investors who come to invest in Palestine.”

“There are good economic ties between us and China, which also sends economic aid. During my visit there, I will ask for establishing joint projects with China such as (in the field of) clean electricity,” said Abbas.

Admitting that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) still suffers from a financial crisis, Abbas said: “We have lands and tourism and we have many things that once they are used we can stop depending on aid and donations, but unfortunately Israel is obstructing any Palestinian investment.”

The PNA has a budget deficit of about $1 billion due to the stoppage of international donations and funds as well as Israel’s refusal to pay the tax revenue dues which represent one third of the PNA budget.

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