Top China, US diplomats discuss Gaza situation

Published December 7, 2023
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a national statement at the World Climate Action Summit during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec 1, 2023. — Reuters/File
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a national statement at the World Climate Action Summit during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec 1, 2023. — Reuters/File

BEIJING: The top diplomats from China and the United States discussed the Gaza situation in a call on Wednesday, saying agreed on the need to de-escalate the unrest as Turkiye rejects “buffer zone” plan for Gaza.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken “reiterated the imperative of all parties working to prevent” the unrest from spreading, according to the US State Department.

Beijing said Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed in turn that, regarding the ongoing crisis, “the top priority is to cease fire and end the war [on Gaza] as soon as possible”.

“Major countries must adhere to fairness and justice, uphold objectivity and impartiality, demonstrate calm and rationality, and make every effort to cool down the situation and prevent larger-scale humanitarian disasters,” Wang said, according to the foreign ministry.

• Erdogan rejects ‘buffer zone’ plan for enclave • Kishida tells Netanyahu civilian casualties should be minimised

He reiterated Beijing’s calls for a two-state solution to the crisis, stressing that “any arrangement involving the future of Palestine must reflect the will of the Palestinian people”.

“China is willing to work with all parties to make efforts to this end,” he said. Washington has been pressing Beijing to use its influence to push for calm in the region.

‘Buffer zone’

Turkiye rejects plans to establish a buffer zone after the end of hostility in Gaza because it would be disrespectful to Palestinians, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on a flight from Doha, Erdogan said Gaza’s governance and future after the end of hostility would be decided by Pales­tinians alone.

“I consider even the debating of this (buffer-zone) plan as disrespectful to my Palestinian siblings. For us, this is not a plan that can be debated, considered, or discussed,” Erdogan’s office quoted him as saying.

Calling for Israel to hand back territories it occupies and end settlements in those territories, he said: “Israel must remove the terrorists — which it markets to the world as settlers — from those houses and those lands, and think about how it can build a peaceful future with Pales­tinians.”

Erdogan said Israel had become “the West’s spoiled child”, and blamed Western support for Israel for the situation in the region.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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