Ministerial meeting attended by delegates from 22 Arab countries

BEIJING: China and Arab states agreed on Thursday to step up anti-terror cooperation in bilateral, regional and multi-lateral fields.

The agreement is part of a communique signed in the wake of the second Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum which concluded here on Thursday afternoon.

``China and Arab states condemn terrorism of any form and oppose linking up terrorism with certain nationality or religion,'' the communique said.

``China and Arab states support Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz's proposal on establishing an international anti-terror centre,'' it said. King Abdullah's proposal was put forward at the international anti-terror conference held in Riyadh in February 2005.

As for the nuclear situation in West Asia, the communiqué said China supports the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in West Asia and all the countries in the region should abide by relevant pacts on prohibiting nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Amr Mahmoud Moussa has called for establishing a nuclear-free zone in West Asia during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

``It is not a nuclear issue of Iran but a nuclear issue of the Middle East (West Asia),'' Mr. Moussa said. The communique said that China supports the Arab states' strategic choice to realise the just and all-round peace of West Asia, which is based on their adherence to relevant U.N. resolutions, the land-for-peace principle, the Arab peace initiative and the roadmap peace plan for West Asia.

China supports restoration of the legitimate rights of Arab people, particularly the rights of Arab people in Palestine to establish their independent country, and accomplish the lasting peace of West Asia, the document said.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmud al-Zahar said on Wednesday that the Palestinian Government would study the Arab peace initiative with a ``serious and positive attitude'' to seek a just solution to the Palestinian issue.

The two-day meeting was attended by delegates from China and 22Arab countries, who also signed an action plan for 2006-2008, an environmental cooperation plan and a memorandum of understanding for a meeting between Chinese and Arab entrepreneurs. Xinhua