Days after welcoming a UNSC resolution for a peace process in Syria, China announced it is set to invite members of the Syrian government and the opposition for talks in the country. Details of the visit are still awaited.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi had indicated the move at the UNSC meet over the weekend, and these comments were reiterated by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“The resolution embodies the broad consensus of the international community and that demonstrates the important role of the Security Council, reflects the key aspiration of the Syrian people and lends fresh impetus to the political settlement of the Syrian issue. We must follow through on it with a view to translate consensus into action, and expectation into reality,” said Wang Yi at the UNSC.
“Our vote, whether supporting or against it, is aimed at avoiding conflict and turbulence, to bring peace to the Syrian people and to ensure the long-term interests of Syrian people through a political resolution. We will stick to the principle of the UN charter and protect the lawful rights of developing countries, especially medium and small countries,” he said.
This is part of China’s efforts to play a constructive role in promoting a political resolution to the crisis, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei in Beijing on Monday.
China has played host to both Syrian government and opposition figures before.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi will be on an official two-day visit to China that begins on Tuesday. The fight against terrorism in the Middle East is expected to figure heavily in talks between Abadi and the Chinese leadership in Beijing.
The violence swirling out from Syria in recent months is pressuring China to step off the sidelines and take a more active role in international efforts to stem the conflict.
The execution of a Chinese captive announced by Islamic State last month — the first such killing — showed the country isn’t beyond the reach of the militant group.
Both Russia and China, along with other BRICS members, have repeatedly opposed Washington’s and its allies’ attempts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
China has, however, stayed away from any direct involvement in the Syrian crisis.
But it is in Syria – and the battle there against extremist Islam – thatRussian’s diplomatic initiatives have taken center stage.
Over the weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said a global united fight against terrorism must not be held “hostage” to the “future of one person”.
“I would like to make only one comment in this connection: we hear our colleagues say let’s start political process so that those who want to oust [Syrian President Bashar] Assad get such hope, then we will be able to coordinate the fight against terrorism with you,” Lavrov said.
“It’s sad that we are again making our common task – termination of terror – hostage to the future of one person,” he added.
“Only the Syrians will decide their own future. That also covers the future of the Syrian president,” Lavrov said arguing that there should be no further attempts at “regime-change” in Syria after the proposed elections.