Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China’s Top Diplomat Visits Egypt, Ends Africa Tour

China’s chief diplomat was in Cairo Sunday for talks with Egyptian and Arab League officials, marking his last stop in a multi-leg trip to Africa that aims to consolidate Beijing’s footprint across the resource-rich continent. Foreign Minister Qin Gang met separately with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. He also met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. In a joint news conference, Foreign Minister Shoukry said the talks addressed Sino-Egyptian relations. Both ministers said they also discussed regional issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tensions have risen after the return to office last month of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is heading Israel’s most right-wing and religiously conservative government. Responding to a Chinese reporter’s question, Qin urged Israel to “stop incitements and provocations, and to refrain from taking uniliteral actions that could worsen the situation.” He also called for “maintaining the status quo” at Jerusalem’s most important holy site, after an ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet minister visited it earlier this year. (https://www.voanews/a/rounding-off-africa-tour-china-s-top-diplomat-visits-egypt-/6919285.html) That visit drew fierce condemnation from across the Muslim world and a strong rebuke from the United States. The aspirations for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state must not be rejected, and the international community must adhere to the two-state solution and adhere to the principle of land for peace, according to the Chinese foreign minister. In his meeting with el-Sissi, the Chinese foreign minister said Beijing would continue to develop its investment in Egypt’s infrastructure projects including those with links to China’s Belt and Road initiative. Qin arrived in Cairo Saturday afternoon. His weeklong trip included Ethiopia, where the African Union headquarters is located, as well as Gabon, Angola and Benin. It was Qin’s first overseas trip since his appointment in December.

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