Chinese FM in Jordan on first leg of regional tour

Date: 06-18-05

AMMAN (AFP) - Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has begun a two-day visit to Jordan on the first leg of a regional tour that will also take him to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon.

Li, who arrived in Amman late Friday, will be holding talks later in the day with Foreign Minister Faruq Kasrawi on bilateral issues and the situation in the region, ministry spokesman Rajab Sukairi said.

He leaves Sunday for Israel to meet Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. On Monday he is due to hold talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas ahead of visits to Syria and Lebanon.

"China is monitoring developments in the Middle East and working to achieve progress in the peace process ... within the framework of the roadmap" peace initiative, Li told state-run Petra news agency upon his arrival.

China, a permanent, veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, called in December for a special conference on the Middle East under the direction of the UN.



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