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US urged to play 'constructive role'

By Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Jan Yumul in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-13 09:12

Smoke rises as the Israeli forces raid the Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir Al Balah, Gaza on April 12, 2024. [Photo/VCG]

In terms of resolving the Middle East issue and cooling down the situation in Gaza, "the United States, in particular, should play a constructive role", said China's Foreign Ministry when discussing details of a call between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that took place on Thursday evening.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular news conference on Friday that Wang has expressed strong condemnation to the attack against the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1.

Beijing underscored that the security of diplomatic institutions is not subject to infringement and that the sovereignty of Iran and Syria should be respected, she said.

Blinken briefed Wang on Washington's views regarding the current situation in the Middle East.

Mao said this round of escalation is the latest sign of spillover from the Gaza conflict.

"It is imperative that the Gaza conflict is brought to an end as soon as possible," she said.

Beijing called on all parties involved in the conflict to effectively implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2728, immediately cease fire to stop the fighting and avert a humanitarian crisis, she added.

"China will continue to play a constructive role in resolving the Middle East issue based on the right and wrong of the matters themselves and to contribute to cooling down the situation," Mao said.

It came as Israel was on alert Thursday after Iran threatened reprisals over the strike in Syria.

France on Friday warned its citizens to "imperatively refrain from travel in the coming days to Iran, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories", the foreign minister's entourage said.

Iranian statement

Iran's permanent mission to the UN has regretted the UN Security Council's inaction to condemn Israeli attacks on its consulate building on Syrian soil, suggesting its retaliatory course could have been avoided by the international community.

The suspected Israeli airstrike damaged the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, where seven members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed. International law experts said the attacks violated international law and sovereignty.

"Had the UN Security Council condemned the Zionist regime's reprehensible act of aggression on our diplomatic premises in Damascus and subsequently brought to justice its perpetrators, the imperative for Iran to punish this rogue regime might have been obviated," the mission said on its X account.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in a phone conversation with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday, vowed for an "appropriate response" if Iran attacked Israeli territory.

In a phone conversation with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Iran's foreign policy "had always been based on staying away from tension".

But he said legitimate self-defense was a necessity when Israel, in breach of international law and relevant Vienna conventions, fully violated the immunity of diplomatic premises and personnel, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Further, in a separate call with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron on the same day, Amir-Abdollahian said the silence of the US and Britain would encourage Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue and expand its warmongering in the region.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called on all countries in the Middle East to show restraint in the wake of the Israeli strike so as to avoid a full-scale destabilization of the situation, Russia's TASS News Agency reported. Germany and Britain also made similar appeals.

In Gaza, the Hamas-run authorities said on Friday that at least 33,634 people had been killed in the territory during more than six months of conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

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