FM to China: Iran biggest threat to world peace

FM meets with Chinese counterpart, vice president over Iranian threat; Oman warns on military confrontation with Iran.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
March 18, 2012 18:10
2 minute read.
Liberman looks on as Chinese VP greets Rotem

Liberman looks on as Chinese VP Xi Jinping meets Rotem_370. (photo credit: Reuters/China Daily)

 
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said he warned top Chinese officials that Iran presents the greatest threat to world peace and stability, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

Following talks with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Liberman's counterpart Yang Jiechi, Liberman told reporters that he hoped international sanctions on Tehran could convince the government there to abandon its nuclear program, but reiterated Israel's right to defend itself should the diplomatic attempts fail.

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Liberman, who is visiting China to celebrate 20 years of ties between Jerusalem and Beijing, told reporters on Friday that all options are on the table with Iran, saying Jerusalem prefers resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through talks with the P5+1 and international sanctions.

His comments came two days after the Belgium-based SWIFT, which facilitates the bulk of global cross-border payments, said it would disconnect designated Iranian financial firms from its messaging system. The move shuts down a major avenue through which Tehran does business with the rest of the world.

China has resisted Western efforts to exert pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions on its oil exports, much of which flows to China.

He spoke a day after the Belgium-based SWIFT, which facilitates the bulk of global cross-border payments, said it would disconnect designated Iranian financial firms from its messaging system. The move shuts down a major avenue through which Tehran does business with the rest of the world.

Liberman noted Beijing's importance in dealing with Tehran and its nuclear a genda, Israel Radio reported. China sits on the P5+1 group, which also includes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany.



Still, Liberman declined to provide details of his discussions with the Chinese officials, or comment on whether he was satisfied with Beijing's position vis a vis Iran, according to the report.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

Oman warns on military confrontation with Iran

Also on Sunday Oman, located strategically on the opposite side of the Strait of Hormuz from Iran, said the risk of military conflict between Tehran and the West was rising but there was still plenty of opportunity to negotiate peace.

Iran has repeatedly denied charges by Western nations it is developing the capability to build nuclear weapons, but the United States and European Union have recently imposed tougher sanctions in an effort to convince Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

"It is in the interest of both sides to come to the middle road," Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate's minister responsible for foreign affairs, told Reuters at the Foreign Ministry in Muscat.

"We can see that the threat of an unfortunate flash of military confrontation is more possible rather than it is remote."

Oman on several occasions has acted as an intermediary between Iran and the West.

Last year, Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said facilitated the release of two US hikers held by Tehran for spying, and three French aid workers held hostage by Yemeni tribesmen were freed in November after Oman negotiated their release.

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