China's foreign minister urges Israel, Hamas to stop fighting, says will provide aid to Gaza

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, whose government is hosting a Palestinian delegation for ceasefire talks snubbed by Israel, on Aug 3, 2014, in Cairo. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, whose government is hosting a Palestinian delegation for ceasefire talks snubbed by Israel, on Aug 3, 2014, in Cairo. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Sunday to stop fighting and urged the Jewish state to lift its blockade of Gaza. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Sunday to stop fighting and urged the Jewish state to lift its blockade of Gaza.

Mr Wang made his comments at a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukri, whose government is hosting a Palestinian delegation for ceasefire talks snubbed by Israel.

"Both sides, the Israeli and the Palestinian, should immediately and comprehensively cease fire, including air strikes, ground operations and rocket fire to save the people and peace in the region," said Mr Wang, whose comments were translated into Arabic. "All actions that involve excessive use of force and that lead to civilian casualties are unacceptable."

Mr Wang also said Israel "should lift its blockade on Gaza, release Palestinian prisoners (but) at the same time Israel's security concerns must be considered".

China will provide US$1.5 million (S$1.87 million) in urgent humanitarian aid to war-battered Gaza, he added.

A Palestinian delegation of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Authority was in Cairo for talks, although Israel said it will not send anyone to the negotiations.

Cairo, the traditional broker in conflicts between Israel and Hamas, invited Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to thrash out a durable truce in Gaza based on an Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

Mr Wang said Beijing backs Cairo's ceasefire proposal and efforts undertaken by other countries to end the fighting in Gaza.

Beijing wanted both Israel and Hamas to "abort the use of force and work on reaching a solution that leads to mutual security through responsible negotiations and suitable mechanisms".

Shoukri said Cairo was trying to reach a solution which "addresses the roots of the conflict, through establishing a state for the Palestinian people".

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