Peres: 'China has large role in stopping Iran'

President meets Chinese FM, who urges resumption of peace talks, says Holocaust "unassailable fact."

By ELIE LESHEM
April 23, 2009 12:25
1 minute read.
Peres: 'China has large role in stopping Iran'

Yang Jiechi peres 248 88 . (photo credit: AP)

 
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China has a "central role" in preventing Iran's drive to obtain nuclear weapons, President Shimon Peres said Thursday in a meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Besides the Iranian nuclear issue the two also discussed the Middle East peace process and the expanding of business and technology ties between the two countries, a statement from Beit Hanassi said. Alluding to Holocaust-denying remarks made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad in his UN racism conference address, Jeichi said that it was "clear" to his country that "the Holocaust of the Jews is an undeniable and unassailable fact." Jeichi expressed his support for the road map peace plan and the "principle of land for peace." He said Israel should resume talks with the Palestinians and also open tracks with the Syrians and the Lebanese. "I know," Jeichi said, "that Israel's new government needs time to formulate its policy and I hope that it will arrive at sensible decisions that lead to peace and stability in the area." Peres emphasized the Iranian threat, calling Ahmadinejad a "religious fanatic leader who supports terror, war and bloodshed." The efforts on the part of Iran, "a poor country," to develop long-range missiles must be a source of anxiety to all "responsible" world leaders, Peres said. Jiechi arrived in Israel for a three-day visit on Wednesday. The Jerusalem Post has learned that Israeli officials were planning to tell him that China's oil and natural gas imports from Iran could be jeopardized in the future if pressure does not increase on the Islamic republic to cease its nuclear program and a military confrontation ensues. During his stay, Israeli diplomats will argue that a more proactive stance on China's part to pressure Iran will serve Beijing's interests, by helping to avert a military conflict, thus safeguarding an important energy source for the growing and energy-hungry Chinese economy. Jiechi will be urged by officials in Jerusalem to up the ante in the campaign to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear development work. Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem view Jiechi's visit as an important opportunity to raise Israel's concerns over Iran, but they remain uncertain over the impact such a presentation will ultimately make on China's Iran policy. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report

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