Masri Heads Up Delegation to China’s National People’s Congress

Mr. Wang Wangbin, Deputy Secretary General of the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC), accompanied by a number of parliamentarians and ministers, and in the presence of the Chinese ambassador to Palestine, HE Mr. Chen Xingzhong and Palestine’s ambassador to China, HE Mr. Farez Mahdawi, warmly welcomed at the Chinese parliament in Beijing a delegation headed by Mr. Munib R. Masri, Chairman of the Palestine Development and Investment Company (PADICO) and Vice Chairman of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC).  Joining the delegation was Mr. Nihad Kamal, PADICO’s Executive Board General Secretary, as well as Mr. Omar M. Masri, Group Managing Director of the Edgo group. 

China has just urged the international community to support President Xi Jinping's new four-point proposal to end the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state.  As the One Belt One Road (OBOR) strategy is rolled out, China's future diplomatic efforts are expected to focus on moving toward a negotiated solution, signaling China's stepped-up engagement in the Middle East.  China’s envoy to the United Nations, Mr. Liu Jieyi, called on member states of the global body to adopt the four-point plan to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish a Palestinian state.  The key points of the plan are:

  1. Advancing the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of the new Palestinian state
  2. Enshrining the “concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security,” including the immediate end of Israeli settlement building and taking immediate measures to prevent violence against civilians and calling for an early resumption of peace talks
  3. International efforts to put forward “peace-promoting measures that entail joint participation at an early date”
  4. “Development and cooperation” between the Palestinians and Israel

HE Mr. Mahdawi reiterated the Palestinian government’s commitment to President Xi Jinping’s peace plan to resolve the conflict fairly and justly. 

Prior to the NPC meeting in Beijing, the delegation attended the 3rd annual Silk Road business summit.  Held in Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities and the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, the summit took place from September 7-9, 2017.  The international event to discuss the OBOR strategy attracted 600 delegates from 70 countries representing 81 commerce chambers and organizations. 

OBOR is a 68-country strategy for trade-boosting infrastructure projects along two routes – one which follows the ancient Silk Road from China through central Asia and the Middle East to Europe and the other linking China to Southeast Asia and east Africa by sea.

Mr. Munib R. Masri was a speaker on the 2017 Silk Road International Museum panel, which discussed the significance of culture and cultural exchange within the Silk Road strategy; the panelists focused specifically on how museums in countries along the route can co-operate and foster deeper cross-cultural harmony and understanding.

In his speech, Mr. Masri highlighted that the Silk Road is very much about the rich cultures of China and the 68 other countries rather than being solely about mega infrastructure projects. “For the Silk Road strategy to succeed and for commercial and political relationships to prosper, cultural exchanges and people-to-people connectivity must take place.  The Silk Road International Museum Association was set-up to fulfil this objective,” he said. 

He added: “I seek to fulfill my cultural responsibilities through Palestine; my homeland and my passion.  Through my foundation, I have been actively engaged over the decades with various cultural and museum initiatives, both in Palestine and regionally.  The two initiatives that are dear to my heart are the Palestine Museum in the city of Birzeit and Beit Felasteen, or the House of Palestine, where I live.  It is a special house that embraces civilization and resonates with history”.

Mr. Masri also emphasized that Palestinians have always been peaceful people seeking freedom and the right to independence.