FM Silvan Shalom met with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing, in Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Minister, who recently returned from Teheran, provided FM Shalom with an update on his discussions in Iran.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met today (November 8) with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing, in Beijing.
The Chinese Foreign Minister, who recently returned from Teheran, provided Foreign Minister Shalom with an update on his discussions in Iran. Li Zhaoxing told Minister Shalom that the Iranians claimed that they have no interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, but they seek only nuclear energy for civilian purposes. The Chinese stated that they do not wish to see nuclear weapons in Iran or North Korea, and that they hope that the problem will be resolved through peaceful means, within the framework of the IAEA.
In response, Silvan Shalom stated that Iran posed a tangible threat to the stability of the Middle East and the entire world, and that it is continuing its efforts to develop nuclear weapons, in violation of the official commitments it has made and against the wishes of the international community. At the same time, Iran is increasing its involvement in Palestinian terrorism, through the Hezbollah organization, and is involved in terrorism in Iraq. Foreign Minister Shalom added that Iran is exploiting its dialogue with France, Britain and Germany. He stated that time is running out, and that the issue had to be submitted to the UN Security Council, where its members will have to find a suitable response to the global threat posed by Iran.
In addition, the two Ministers discussed a variety of bilateral and regional issues. Silvan Shalom stated that Israel is interested in obtaining favoured tourism destination status, noting that the Beijing Olympics of 2008 constitutes an opportunity to enhance the relations between the two countries, through the involvement of Israeli companies in projects relating to the Olympics, as well as involvement in economic activity ahead of the Games.
Foreign Minister Shalom signed a donation valued at $1million by the Gilat Company, submitted by the International Cooperation Division (Mashav) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The donation of 300 modems will be used for long-distance learning. Mashav has invested a third of its budget in projects in China. At present, it is overseeing a very successful dairy production project in China.
Foreign Minister Shalom has invited his counterpart to visit Israel.