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China hosts Middle East peace forum

Israeli and Palestinian parliamentarians among participants in two-day event that backs a two-state solution

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Beijing's Great Hall of the People in May 2013. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
Chinese President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Beijing's Great Hall of the People in May 2013. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

BEIJING (AP) — China is hosting a Mideast peace forum backing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of its quest for greater diplomatic influence in a region of growing importance to its economy.

Participants in the two-day meeting that began on Tuesday include UN officials, diplomats, academics, and present and former members of the Palestinian and Israeli parliaments.

The forum points to China’s attempts to balance its support for the Palestinian cause, heavy reliance on Saudi oil and its pursuit of Israeli high-tech imports and know-how in areas from military training to water management. That search for balance was demonstrated by Beijing’s hosting of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu on state visits during the same week last month.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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