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Tehran welcomes Chinese offer to mediate with Riyadh
Chinese FM this week offered assistance in mediating between the two regional rivals
By Ahmet Dursun ISTANBUL
Iran’s embassy in Beijing on Friday announced Tehran's readiness to hold talks with Saudi Arabia based on a Chinese offer to mediate between the two regional rivals, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
The news agency reported that Tehran welcomed a mediation initiative proposed earlier this week by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with a view to promoting regional stability.
In a Wednesday press statement, Yang had voiced hope that Tehran and Riyadh would “resolve their differences on the basis of equality and friendly consultation”.
China, he added, “is a friend to both countries and is ready to play a mediating role”.
The Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, frequently accuse Iran of meddling in their domestic affairs -- claims denied by Tehran.
The Gulf States also say Tehran’s nuclear energy program poses a threat to regional security, although Tehran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in nature.
Tensions mounted between the Gulf and Iran after Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran early last year.
The move came after two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by protesters following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by the Saudi authorities.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies also accuse Tehran of supporting the Shia Houthi militia group, which overran much of Yemen -- including capital Sanaa -- in 2014.
The ongoing conflict in Syria, meanwhile, in which the Gulf States and Iran support opposing sides, also contributed to the deterioration of Gulf-Iran ties in recent years.
March 10, 2017 9:12 P.M. (Updated: March 11, 2017 12:13 P.M.)
Trump expresses support for 'any process' leading to peace in region during phone call with Abbas
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone for the first time on Friday evening, with Trump officially inviting Abbas to the White House to “relaunch the peace process.”
Spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency Abu Rudeineh said that Trump had called Abbas and invited him to the White House “very soon” in order to discuss strategies of “relaunching the peace process,” while stressing his commitment to supporting “any process that could lead to real peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”
According to Rudeineh, Abbas confirmed his commitment to peace and his support for establishing an independent Palestinian state next to an Israeli state as the most practical strategy for ending the decades-long conflict in the region.
Abbas had also called Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Friday afternoon to discuss Palestinian and regional issues, and ways of achieving the Arab summit planned to be held in the Jordanian capital Amman this month.
US President Donald Trump responded ambivalently to a question last month regarding his administration’s position on the two-state solution during a press conference preceding a controversial meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a US official said that the country was not necessarily committed to the policy as the sole way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said, eliciting laughter from Netanyahu. “I can live with either one.”
While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, a growing number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

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President at the 17th WFTGA Convention:
Dialogue the shortest, cheapest way to settle disagreements among states/Iran proved world that it's the country of peace, friendship/One cannot raise walls between nations; today the day of being neighbours/Tourism results in security, culture, integrity, interaction among nations
Dialogue is the shortest and the less expensive way of settling disagreements among states, said President Rouhani, adding: "We are proud of peace, friendship, brotherhood and coexistence and one cannot raise walls between nations; today is the day of being neighbours".
Speaking at the 17th Convention of World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) in Tehran on Saturday, Dr Rouhani added: "Iranian nation has created great wonders such as the Islamic Revolution".
No power, except for culture and causes, were behind the Iranian nation's revolution, said the president adding: "Political independence and democracy are the most important achievements of the revolution".
He added: "Iran has never been a colony and has been the herald of peaceful coexistence for its neighbours".
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran also said: "In Iran, we have mosques and churches and religious minorities have representatives in the parliament".
Iran has been the pioneer of science in the world's history, Dr Rouhani said, adding: "Great Persian language poets are a source of pride for the whole region".
Stating that Iran proved to the world that is the country of peace and friendship, he also said: "One cannot raise walls between nations; today is the day of being neighbours".
Information technology has bridged the distances, said the President. He went on to say: "Breaking trade pacts does not contribute to global economy and development".
He also stressed that more stability and security depends on more dialogue, adding: "We have deeply felt the impacts of aggression, terrorism and the pain that the people of the region are in".
"Our region is the cradle of tourism and terrorism targeted relics of history and civilisation," continued the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He also said: "Iran has used all its might to help the nations of the region against terrorism and will continue to do so".
Dr Rouhani further continued: "With Iran's help and the Iraqi and Syrian people's bravery, terrorism in the region is waning".
Stating that "tourism is a bridge between nations", he continued: "Tour guides are the servants of the human civilisation and the links of transferring history to new generations".
On the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he also said: "The achievement of JCPOA for the world was more stability and interaction".