Daily Israel Report

PA Envoy: China Can Play 'Special Role' in Mideast

China can play a "special role" in the Middle East, a Palestinian Authority envoy said Friday.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 11/23/2012, 12:03 PM

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang shakes hands with Salhi, envoy of Palestinian President Abbas, at Chin
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang shakes hands with Salhi, envoy of Palestinian President Abbas, at Chin
Reuters

China can play a "special role" in the Middle East, a Palestinian Authority envoy said Friday.

Bassam al-Salhi, a representative of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas, relayed his comments after talks in Beijing regarding the PA bid for statehood at the United Nations next week.

Abbas will be seeking to obtain observer status in the General Assembly, similar to that of the Vatican.

Al-Salhi, who is also general secretary of the Palestinian People's Party, referred to Beijing as a "broker" and a "mediator" after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, AFP reported.

He said China could succeed where the United States failed, regarding finding a solution to end hostilities in the region.

"We are very interested in the Chinese role in all the Middle East because all the Middle East needs more efforts from the international community," he said.

"They want to be involved (in the Middle East) and we are interested in them being more involved. A special role (for) China is coming," he added, according to AFP. 

China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has voiced support for the Palestinian Authority push for full state membership at the United Nations.

It has also called on the international community to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, but has not yet played an active role itself.

Beijing said it welcomed the ceasefire and hoped both sides would "sincerely implement" it.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also said China would provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, but declined to go into details.

Al-Salhi had earlier said China offered $1 million in "special assistance" to "our people in Palestine", AFP reported. 

China, which generally opposes intervention in the internal affairs of other nations and has generally remained distant from Middle Eastern affairs, has begun to take a more active diplomatic role in recent years, wielding its UN veto power to foil some Western-backed proposals on Syria.