Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Monday condemned the American and British-patrolled no-fly zone over Iraq and expressed sympathy with Iraq after 10-years of UN sanctions.
"China resolutely condemns the air attacks that have caused great civilian casualties and property losses and intensified the situation," China Central Television quoted Tang as telling visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz.
"The establishment of the no-fly zone by some Western countries violates the UN charter and norms of international relations and ignores and tramples on the sovereignty of Iraq," he said.
US warplanes bombed northern Iraq last week after coming under fire during routine patrols over the no-fly zone, in the latest of a series of bombings which Iraq claims have killed more than 300 people since December 1998.
Iraq does not recognize the zones, which are not authorized by any specific UN resolution.
Aziz arrived in Beijing late Sunday and was expected to seek China's support for its ongoing efforts to remove crippling UN economic sanctions placed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait and its defeat in the Gulf War.
"China is gravely concerned with the development of issues relating to Iraq and expresses it sympathy to the long-term sufferings of the Iraqi people," Tang said.
"China believes that any sanctions, blockades or attacks, no matter how strong in the beginning, will not win the popular support of the people," he added.
Aziz hoped China would continue to play "a positive and important role" towards a just and rational resolution of the Iraqi question, the report said – BEIJING (AFP)
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