Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, pictured in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2013, arrived in Beijing Sunday
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, pictured in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2013, arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a visit, official media said, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also set to meet Chinese leaders later this week. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, pictured in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2013, arrived in Beijing Sunday
AFP
Last updated: May 5, 2013

Palestinian leader Abbas in China for state visit

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a visit, official media said, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also set to meet Chinese leaders later this week.

Abbas will stay in China through Tuesday, the state news agency Xinhua reported, while Netanyahu is due to arrive in the financial hub of Shanghai on Monday for two days and then visit Beijing until Friday.

Abbas told Xinhua he plans to update Chinese leaders about obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian talks and ask them to "use its relationship with Israel to remove the obstacles that obstruct the Palestinian economy".

Of his overlapping visit with the Israeli leader Netanyahu, he said: "It is a good opportunity that the Chinese listen to both of us."

Netanyahu is expected to seek greater Chinese backing for tougher sanctions against Iran in an attempt to slow its nuclear programme, which Israel and western states suspect is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has repeatedly denied that claim.

China belongs to the P5+1 group of nations -- the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany -- that has been pressing Iran over its nuclear programme. It is also one of the biggest customers for Iran's oil.

Beijing has traditionally remained distant from Middle Eastern affairs, though in recent years it has begun to take a more active diplomatic role.

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