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Xi urges 'immediate' ceasefire, release of detainees in Israel-Hamas war

During a virtual summit with other BRICS leaders on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for the immediate release of civilian detainees and a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to state media reports.

Published November 21,2023
China's President Xi Jinping (REUTERS File Photo)

Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for the release of civilian detainees and an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, state media said, as the Chinese President addressed a virtual summit of fellow BRICS leaders.

"All parties in the conflicts should immediately cease fire and hostilities, stop all violence and attacks targeting civilians, and release civilian detainees to avoid more loss of lives and suffering," Xi said, according to Beijing's state news agency Xinhua.

He did not make specific reference to the estimated 240 hostages abducted from Israel by Hamas last month, nor to Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.

Xi also called for an "international peace conference" to resolve the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

"There can be no sustainable peace and security in the Middle East without a just solution to the question of Palestine," Xi said, speaking through an interpreter.

"China calls for an early convening of an international peace conference that is more authoritative to build international consensus for peace," he said.

Such a conference would, Xi added, "work toward an early solution to the question of Palestine that is comprehensive, just and sustainable".

"Since the outbreak of the latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has been working actively to promote peace talks and a ceasefire," he said.

Beijing, he said, "has provided humanitarian assistance to help ease the humanitarian plight in Gaza" and would continue to do so.

Pretoria is hosting a virtual meeting of BRICS -- a group of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- aimed at drawing up a common response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Fighting has raged in Gaza after Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, during cross-border raids on October 7 -- the deadliest attack in Israel's history.

In retaliation, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas.

According to Hamas, the war has killed more than 13,300 people, thousands of them children.

China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinians and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Beijing has been calling for an immediate ceasefire since the start of the war last month.