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CHINESE President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin joined other leaders from the Brics bloc of developing countries in a virtual meeting on the Israel-Gaza war today, with United Nations secretary-general Antonio Gutteres also participating.
The leaders of fellow Brics members Brazil, India and South Africa, as well as of Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, which are set to join the bloc in January, also took part, according to the office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In televised comments, Mr Putin said: “We call for the joint efforts of the international community aimed at de-escalating the situation, a ceasefire and finding a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“The situation in the Gaza Strip shows that the US is trying to monopolise mediation functions in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.”
He said that the Brics nations could provide an alternative and “could play a key role in this work.”
Chinese leader Mr Xi called for an international peace conference to bring an end to the crisis.
The statement from the Brics leaders called for an end to the building of settlements by Israelis, the release of all prisoners of war and an investigation into war crimes.
The meeting comes a day after China’s top diplomat hosted the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Indonesia in Beijing, his first stop on a tour of UN security council permanent members.
South Africa has been fiercely critical of Israel over the war in Gaza and has filed a request with the International Criminal Court to investigate it over alleged war crimes.
For years, the South Africa has compared Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank with the apartheid regime of racial segregation.
South Africa’s parliament is set to vote on a motion today to shut down the Israeli embassy and sever ties with the country over the war.
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