China, Russia Plan to Work Together for Two-State Solution for Palestinians, Israel

Smoke rises in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli airstrike, as seen from Sderot, Israel, 20 October 2023. (EPA)
Smoke rises in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli airstrike, as seen from Sderot, Israel, 20 October 2023. (EPA)
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China, Russia Plan to Work Together for Two-State Solution for Palestinians, Israel

Smoke rises in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli airstrike, as seen from Sderot, Israel, 20 October 2023. (EPA)
Smoke rises in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli airstrike, as seen from Sderot, Israel, 20 October 2023. (EPA)

China and Russia share the same position on the Palestinian issue and plan to try to work together to cool the situation and help establish a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, a top Chinese envoy said Friday.

Zhai Jun, China’s special envoy to the Middle East, spoke after a meeting Thursday in Qatar with Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian president’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa.

“The fundamental reason for the current situation of the Palestine-Israel conflict is that the Palestinian people’s lawful national rights have not been guaranteed,” Zhai said, according to a statement released on Friday by the Chinese foreign ministry.

“China and Russia have the same position on the Palestine question, and China is ready to maintain communication and coordination with Russia to promote de-escalation of the situation,” Zhai said.

The two countries want to “play a positive role in resuming talks for peace between Palestine and Israel, truly implementing the two-state solution, and promoting a comprehensive, just and enduring solution to the Palestinian question at an early date,” Zhai said.

China sent Zhai to the Middle East to push for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the latest sign of its ambition to play a larger role in the region.

The two sides confirmed their “unwavering focus on closely coordinating efforts for the political settlement of this and other crises in the Middle East and North Africa region,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, according to the country’s Tass state news agency.

China, which sees the US as too pro-Israel, has said it opposes attacks on civilians, but hasn't condemned the initial Hamas attack that started the latest war. Instead, it has called for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians as Israel bombards Gaza before a possible ground invasion.

“We believe that when dealing with hot spot issues in the international community, major powers should be objective and impartial,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Friday.

In his meeting with Bogdanov, Zhai said Beijing was saddened by “a great number of civilian casualties caused by the Palestine-Israel conflict and the sharp deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Palestine.”

Beijing describes Hamas as a “resistance movement,” not as a terrorist group as Israel and other countries do.

Analysts say that China wants to position itself as a mediator and exert its influence in the region as the US shifts its global attention elsewhere. But the latest Gaza war has drawn the US back in, with President Joe Biden visiting Israel this week.

Zhai also met with Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Mohammed Abdulaziz al-Khulaifi, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Mao, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that Zhai would travel to other Middle Eastern countries, but she didn't give any further details.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told Chinese leader Xi Jinping this week that “Egypt and other Arab countries highly appreciate China’s consistent and just position on the Palestinian question and expect China to play a bigger role in solving the current crisis,” according to a Chinese statement on their meeting.

Xi told Madbouly, who was in Beijing to attend a forum on China’s Belt and Road infrastructure-building initiative, that the top priority is to stop the fighting and prevent it from causing a severe humanitarian crisis.

He said China “stands ready to strengthen coordination with Egypt and other Arab countries to work for a comprehensive, just and enduring solution to the Palestinian question,” the Chinese statement said.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.