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Israeli FM failed to find support for U.S. sanctions against Iran in China

Israel’s foreign minister failed to break down China’s opposition to new U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Tzipi Livni reiterated her calls for additional measures aimed at persuading Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, considered by Israel and the United States a covert attempt to obtain atomic weapons.

However, Livni mentioned no breakthroughs after talks with China's premier and foreign minister. China's Foreign Ministry restated its opposition to new measures.

"On the Iran issue, we believe Iran is not only a threat to Israel, but a threat to the entire region and the world," Livni said at a news conference.

"We believe there is a need to enhance the sanctions in order to stop Iran," she said. Israel maintains that Iran is a threat to its existence and has hinted it could strike militarily if the international community allows Iran to develop nuclear arms.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who insists his country's nuclear ambitions are peaceful, has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction.

At a regularly scheduled news conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said sanctions were not always the best way to resolve tensions.

China believes that "the unbridled use of sanctions should not be encouraged," Liu said.

China backed two rounds of U.N. sanctions, but has since joined fellow permanent Security Council member Russia, in opposing new measures.

However, a spokesman for Livni, speaking on routine condition of anonymity, claimed the minister had enjoyed some success in getting her message through, but refused to give details about the discussions.

"They have conveyed to us that they share our concern over Iran's nuclear program," the spokesman said.

Also visiting Beijing on Tuesday, Jordan's King Abdullah II urged China on Tuesday to take a more active role in helping broker peace in the Middle East.

China's growing influence could speed up a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and other lingering regional tensions, Abdullah said at the start of a closed-door meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

He said he hoped for a stronger Chinese role because "you are always considered an honest broker and are very well-respected in our part of the world."

China maintains good relations with Israel and the Arab states, and in recent years has shown a willingness to get more involved in resolving regional conflicts. China's special envoy to the Middle East has made repeated trips for consultations with leaders in the region, but has so far made little impact on the situation there.

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