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Abbas to ask for Chinese help with economy

May 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM

BEIJING, May 5 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Sunday in China, saying he planned to ask China to help the Palestinian economy.

Before his visit, Abbas told China's state-run Xinhua news agency he'd like to ask Chinese officials "to use [their] relationship with Israel to remove the obstacles that obstruct the Palestinian economy."

Abbas' visit comes just days before Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's planned trip to China, The New York Times reported Sunday.

There are no plans for the two Mideast leaders to meet while in China, the newspaper said.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said China would happily arrange for Abbas and Netanyahu to meet while in China.

China "supports the Palestinian and Israeli sides in resolving their differences and disputes through peace talks," Hua said. "China's reception of the Palestinian and Israeli leaders for visits is also a part of these efforts."

Abbas is scheduled to depart Beijing Tuesday, while Netanyahu should arrive Wednesday, the Times reported.

Netanyahu's visit will likely address Iran's disputed nuclear program and worsening tensions in Syria, the newspaper said.

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