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China to Send Special Envoy to Mideast - 2003-05-13

China's Foreign Ministry says it will send a special envoy to the Middle East to help international efforts to build peace.

Beijing says it will send special envoy Wang Shijie to meet with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss the international peace proposal known as the road map.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue says China welcomes the road map, and will support it.

Ms. Zhang says Israel and Palestine should take hold of an "opportune and precious time" and act to cooperate to implement the road map as soon as possible.

The plan was drafted by the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union. It aims to establish a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel within two years.

Ms. Zhang says China is studying a draft U.N. resolution sponsored by Britain, Spain and the United States to end economic sanctions against Iraq. She says China has always favored lifting the sanctions, but any process for doing so must be in the long-term interest of the Iraqi people, and must be discussed thoroughly by the U.N. Security Council.

China's status as a permanent member of the Security Council gives it veto power over any resolution put before it.

Ms. Zhang also said China's government is shocked by the terrorist bombings of residential compounds in Saudi Arabia. She said the government extended its condolences to the victims and their families.

Dozens of people, most of them foreigners, were injured in the suicide attacks, and more than 10 people have been confirmed dead.