Xi, Macron discuss Gaza war in phone call

BEIJING (AFP) : Chinese President Xi Jinping and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the Israel-Hamas war in a phone call on Monday, agreeing “to avoid a more serious humanitarian crisis,” Beijing’s state media reported.

“The two heads of state exchanged views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and both believe that the top priority is to avoid further deterioration of the situation between Palestine and Israel, especially to avoid a more serious humanitarian crisis,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The phone call comes days ahead of a visit to China by French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and as a delegation of top diplomats from the Palestinian Authority, Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan meet in Beijing for talks aimed at a “de-escalation” of the conflict in Gaza.

According to CCTV, Xi and Macron agreed to “maintain communication on international and regional issues of common concern and contribute to maintaining world peace and stability.”

“The ‘two-state solution’ is the fundamental way to solve the recurrent conflict between Palestine and Israel,” the state broadcaster added.

Macron visited China in April for a three-day state visit, during which he was hosted by Xi in the capital Beijing and met students in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Earlier on Sunday, Macron’s office announced that France was preparing to send a helicopter carrier to the eastern Mediterranean to offer medical assistance in Gaza.

The office said that the president told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu there were “too many civilian losses” in Gaza.

Macron reminded Netanyahu of the “absolute necessity to distinguish terrorists from the population” and “the importance of achieving an immediate humanitarian truce leading to a ceasefire.”

Macron also condemned violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank in a conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the French presidency said.

The French leader told Netanyahu about his “great concern over the escalation in violence against Palestinian civilians” in the West Bank and called for calm.

Macron also told Abbas of “the need for the Palestinian Authority and all countries in the region to unequivocally and with the greatest firmness condemn the terrorist attack carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7.”

Israeli troops and settlers have killed more than 200 Palestinians in the West Bank since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in Ramallah.