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China hosts Israel, Palestine leaders

world Updated: May 07, 2013 00:57 IST
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was welcomed by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a visit to the eastern financial hub of Shanghai.

Netanyahu is due in Beijing on Wednesday following Abbas' departure a day earlier.

China's foreign ministry said last week it would be willing to help set up a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu if the two men wanted. Talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides have been deadlocked for four years and there was no indication a meeting would take place.

China has traditionally maintained a low profile in Middle East diplomacy, but in recent years has tried to play a more active role in the region as part of its quest for markets, resources and diplomatic influence.

Beijing has sought stable relations with both sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but has been criticized along with Russia by many for strongly opposing international intervention in Syria.