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Israel Offers China Experimental Desert Farms as "Goodwill Gesture"

[China News Daily. August 20, 2000.]

[CND, 08/20/00] Israel's Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon PERES, in China for an official visit, offered China an Israeli experimental desert farm as as a "goodwill gesture" and an attempt to rebuild ties between the two sides after Tel Avia cancelled a Phalcon sale to Beijing under pressure from Washington, the Jerusalem Post reported on Friday.

Tel Avia's sale of the Phalcon advanced radar system to Beijing, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was abandoned after pressure and interferences from Washington. Washington has threatened to cut off the annual economical aid to Tel Avia if the Phalcon sale was allowed to proceed.

While meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister TANG Jiaxuan and Chinese Vice-Premier QIAN Qichen, Peres apologized for the incident, and asked Beijing to understand the predicament facing Tel Aviv when faced with "massive pressure" from Washington. Later in a press conference, Peres stated that the cancellation of the Phalcon deal was an extremely unpleasant experience for the Israelis.

According to Pere's spokesman, the experimental farm is intended for Western China, an arid area hit often by drought and hunger, and that the offer was made to rebuild confidence.

It's worth noting that Peres visit and farm offer came shortly after an official visit by Yasser Arafat, who has been on a worldwide tour to win support for a declaration of the Palestinian statehood. (Ray ZHANG, WU Yiyi)


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