Nov. 22: President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, while addressing the BRICS summit hosted virtually by South Africa on Tuesday, expressed his ‘grave concern’ over the ongoing situation in the Middle East and called for immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not attend the BRICS meeting; however External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar represented India, condemning the killing of civilians in the conflict, but stopping short of supporting China’s demand for a ceasefire in Gaza.
According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, while addressing the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered remarks on “Working Toward a Ceasefire and Realizing Lasting Peace and Sustainable Security,” specifically addressing the situation in the Middle East, particularly Gaza.
Before delving into the topic, President Xi Jinping extended a warm welcome to the leaders of the new BRICS members and expressed gratitude to President Ramaphosa of South Africa for their efforts in organizing the meeting.
He stated, “This is our first summit since the expansion of BRICS. Before I discuss the issue at hand, I wish to extend a warm welcome to the leaders of the new BRICS members and express my thanks to President Ramaphosa and the South African government for your efforts that have made our meeting possible. Given the current circumstances, it is timely and crucial that we convene to advocate for justice and peace on the Palestinian-Israeli issue.”
Expressing concern over civilian casualties and the humanitarian disaster, President Xi Jinping stated, “The conflict in Gaza is now entering its second month. China is gravely concerned that the conflict is causing enormous civilian casualties and a humanitarian disaster, with the potential to expand and spill over.”
Xi Jinping emphasized, “China believes that the following is urgent and imperative: First, the parties to the conflict must end hostilities and achieve a ceasefire immediately, stopping all violence and attacks against civilians, releasing civilians held captive, and preventing further loss of lives and suffering.
“Second, humanitarian corridors must be kept secure and unimpeded, and additional humanitarian assistance should be provided to the population in Gaza. The collective punishment of people in Gaza, such as forced transfer and deprivation of water, electricity, and fuel, must cease.
“Third, the international community must take practical measures to prevent the conflict from spilling over and endangering stability in the Middle East. China supports the resolution adopted at the emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly on October 27. Under China’s presidency, the U.N. Security Council has adopted Resolution 2712. All parties must act to implement these resolutions through concrete measures on the ground.”
President Xi Jinping further stated, “The root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli situation is the neglect of the Palestinian people’s right to statehood, their right to existence, and their right of return. I have emphasized on many occasions that the only viable way to break the cycle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in the two-state solution, the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine. There can be no sustainable peace and security in the Middle East without a just solution to the question of Palestine.
“China calls for the early convening of an international peace conference that is authoritative to build international consensus for peace and work toward an early, comprehensive, just, and sustainable solution to the question of Palestine.”
Furthermore, President Xi Jinping stated, “Since the outbreak of the latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has actively worked to promote peace talks and a ceasefire. China has provided humanitarian assistance to alleviate the humanitarian plight in Gaza. This includes USD 2 million of emergency humanitarian assistance provided through the Palestinian National Authority and U.N. agencies, and emergency humanitarian supplies worth RMB 15 million, such as food and medicine, to the Gaza Strip with the help of Egypt.
“China will provide more supplies and assistance according to the needs of the people in Gaza. At the U.N. Security Council, China has acted in its capacity as president to facilitate the adoption of the resolution, which calls for extended humanitarian pauses and corridors, the protection of civilians, and the provision of humanitarian assistance.”
In conclusion of his remarks, President Xi Jinping stated, “The BRICS cooperation mechanism is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and safeguard common interests.
“Our meeting today to coordinate positions and actions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict marks a good start for greater BRICS cooperation following its enlargement. China commends South Africa for its significant contribution as BRICS chair to advancing BRICS development. As Russia will take over the BRICS chairmanship next year, China stands ready to work with other members to jointly support Russia’s work as the chair and usher in a new era for BRICS cooperation.”