Correcting ‘historical injustice’ to allow Palestinian state: China

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands at the end of their joint press conference in Beijing on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Updated 13 April 2017
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Correcting ‘historical injustice’ to allow Palestinian state: China

BEIJING: Palestinians must be allowed to build an independent state, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday after meeting Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, who pushed Beijing to do more in the Middle East peace process.
Chinese envoys occasionally visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories, though China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.
Wang told a joint press briefing with Al-Maliki that 70 years after a UN resolution was passed on a plan for a Jewish state, Palestinians are still being prevented from having their own independent country.
“This is unfair. This kind of historical injustice must be corrected. It cannot continue,” Wang said.
It was time to overcome inertia and restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, he said.
Maliki said Palestinians appreciated and welcomed China’s efforts to facilitate peace.
“And we do encourage China to do more of this kind of approach, in order to see peace ultimately achieved in our region,” he added.
Beijing has traditionally had a good relationship with the Palestinians.
The Middle East, however, is fraught with risk for China, a country that has little experience navigating the religious and political tensions that frequently rack the region.
China’s President Xi Jinping told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March that peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine would be good for both parties and the region, and that it was favored by the international community.


UN council support tough action for peacekeeping failures

Updated 24 min 15 sec ago
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UN council support tough action for peacekeeping failures

  • The UN, which deploys 96,000 peacekeepers in 14 far-flung missions from the Mideast to Africa to Haiti, has come under sharp criticism in recent years
  • Some countries that contribute troops to UN missions privately expressed unhappiness at the initial US draft resolution

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday to support tougher UN action against peacekeepers who fail to protect civilians, including by sending them home and refusing to pay their governments.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the adoption of the US-sponsored resolution that the council had responded to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ challenge “to step up and strengthen peacekeeping.”
“The actions we take today will make the United Nations a better, more effective instrument of peace and security,” she said. “This resolution mandates a timely and transparent reporting process for performance failures. It creates real accountability measures for when these failures occur.”
The United Nations, which deploys 96,000 peacekeepers in 14 far-flung missions from the Mideast to Africa to Haiti, has come under sharp criticism in recent years for sexual abuse by its troops and failures to protect civilians.
The United States is the largest contributor to peacekeeping, but deploys only 50 officers to UN missions.
Haley has been trying to cut the peacekeeping budget, which this year is $7.3 billion, and she announced in March that the Trump administration was reducing its 28.5 percent assessment to 25 percent.
Some countries that contribute troops to UN missions privately expressed unhappiness at the initial US draft resolution. Russia and China said earlier this month that the views of troop contributors needed to be taken into account, and Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Friday he almost voted against the measure.
Haley said the US rejected “business as usual” for the resolution and did engage major troop contributing countries.
The resolution honors “the heroic work of tens of thousands of United Nations uniformed and civilian peacekeeping personnel” and underscores that the UN “should not let the performance failures of a few tarnish the achievements of the whole.”
But it also expresses “deep concern about the serious and continuous allegations and underreporting of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers.” It further takes aim at “continued instances of underperformance,” including inaction by UN soldiers against imminent threats to civilians they are mandated to protect.
The council reaffirmed support for the development of a comprehensive policy with clear standards on peacekeeping performance and “well-defined benchmarks to ensure accountability for underperformance and incentives and recognition for outstanding performance.”
It said “a range of responses proportionate to the identified performance failures” are needed. These should include “transparent public reporting,” repatriating or replacing military units, and withholding financial payments to governments of uniformed personnel, the council said. For civilian members of UN missions, the measures for performance failures should include revoking or changing duties, dismissing them or not renewing contracts, it said.