China / Government

China looks to mediate Syria's civil war

By Wang Qingyun ( Updated: 2016-01-07 22:50

Foreign minister Wang Yi urged opposition parties in Syria to participate in peace dialogues and negotiations without any preconditions when he met with a leader from the Syrian opposition force in Beijing on Thursday.

The meeting with President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces Alptekin Hocaoglu came just two weeks after Beijing hosted the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.

Observers see Beijing’s engagement with both the Syrian government and the oppositions as a more active mediation role for conflict issues in the Middle East.

A civil war broke out five years ago in the oil-rich country and has since turned the nation into a war-torn land with increasing terrorism forces.

The UN Security Council unanimously agreed on a resolution last month, which calls for Syria peace talks to begin in early January.

It also calls for a nationwide cease-fire in Syria to come into effect "as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards a political transition under UN auspices".

While meeting with Alptekin Hocaoglu, Wang urged opposition parties in Syria to support the UN’s peace effort and "participate in relevant talks and negotiations without preconditions".

As a representative of the Syrian opposition parties, the National Coalition can adopt measures that are more positive to help bring a ceasefire and coordinate with the UN’s efforts, Wang said.

China has been pushing for peace and dialogues in Middle East issues, insisting that the primary judgment to solving those problems focuses on whether it will bring peace and happiness for the people there, Wang said, adding that China will continue to offer more humanitarian aid for Syria.

Alptekin Hocaoglu arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a four-day visit.

He was quoted in a Foreign Ministry press statement saying that his coalition is ready to participate in the UN-led dialogue without any precondition, and advocate that the Syria government and oppositions should take measures to build trust gradually, and solve all problems through dialogue and negotiation.

He said he hopes China will play a bigger role in pushing for the political solution of the Syrian issue.

China has actively participated in international mediations to draw opposition parties in Syria to the negotiating table ever since the civil war broke out five years ago.

China announced that it would extend an additional 40 million yuan ($6.06 million) in humanitarian aid to Syria while hosting visiting Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who arrived in December.

Wang Mingming, a researcher of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the efforts China has been making to bring a negotiation shows the country is playing a more constructive role in addressing Middle East Issues than before.

Both the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition parties believe that China has a "relatively equitable" stance in the Syrian issue due to its "detached" position. Wang said, adding that he is optimistic that China will help address the issue.

Former Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issues Wu Sike said the willingness to negotiate between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition parties shows that the international community has realized military measures cannot solve problems, and the most urgent issue now is to work together to fight terrorism.

"China has long been expressing its stance of addressing the Syrian issue through political solutions, and its effort to talk it through to both the Syrian government and opposition parties has paid off," Wu said.

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