Updated: 12/19/2013 04:26 | By Agence France-Presse

Netanyahu warns Chinese foreign minister against nuclear Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Wednesday that Iran must not have the "capability" to develop nuclear arms, during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.


Netanyahu warns Chinese foreign minister against nuclear Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a press conference at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on December 18, 2013

"For the peace of the world, for the peace of the coming years and decades, Iran must be denied the capability – I stress the word – the capability to develop nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said in televised remarks distributed by his office ahead of the meeting.

Talks between Iran and world powers over implementing last month's nuclear deal are set to resume in Geneva on Thursday. 

China is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council which, along with Germany, negotiated the November 24 accord.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear programme for six months in exchange for modest sanctions relief and a promise not to impose new sanctions.

Israel and many in the international community suspect Tehran of using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover for developing a bomb, which Iran strongly denies.

And Israel, the region's sole if undeclared nuclear power, has refused to rule out  military action to prevent Iran from achieving that end.

Iran "must fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions," Netanyahu said. 

"I think that this is something that the international community in its entirety must stand firm on."

Yi noted his visit was bent on "furthering friendship between the two countries" and strengthening economic ties, in remarks translated by Netanyahu's office.

Official Israeli figures put annual trade between the countries at nearly $8 billion (5.8 billion euros).

"I have also come for peace," Yi said.

"I hope Israel and Palestine will take advantage of this historic opportunity" of ongoing talks to enable "true peace between Israel and Palestine, and to lay the foundations for comprehensive peace and stability in the Middle East."

Israeli and the Palestinians relaunched direct peace talks in July, with US Secretary of State saying he was "encouraged" by process being made.

Earlier in the day, Yi met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah, official news agency Wafa said.

Yi said the Palestinian territory was the first stop on his Middle East tour, which was a message of "China's support for the Palestinian cause and rights," Wafa said.

He also "urged taking advantage of efforts by the US Secretary of State John Kerry to make the negotiations" with Israel successful.

On Thursday, the Chinese minister will meet his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, and President Shimon Peres, as well as visit the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial.

Both Netanyahu and Abbas visited China in May.

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