عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Give Peace A Chance and People Tranquility

2015/12/19

Remarks by Foreign Minister Wang Yi
At the Third Foreign Ministers' Meeting of
The International Syria Support Group

New York, 18 December 2015

Dear Colleagues,

The Syrian issue must be settled politically. This is the consensus of all parties and is the only way out. What happened in the past five years proves that there is no military solution to hotspot issues like Syria, as even if it may appear to work at one point, it cannot fundamentally resolve the problem. In the context of the increasingly grim counter-terrorism situation, the political settlement of the Syrian issue now faces a new opportunity and is picking up speed. China fully recognizes the previous two foreign ministers meetings which, after thorough discussions, had identified the major principles and roadmap for political settlement of the Syrian issue.

We notice that Saudi Arabia has put together the first meeting for consolidating the opposition, and Jordan is advancing its work on determining terrorist organizations. While such efforts shouldn't go unrecognized, it's important to note that they are not finished yet and there are still different views among countries. As such, today's meeting is very important and has to be successful, fruitful and deliver progress. We need to have in-depth discussions on important issues regarding the list of oppositions, determination of terrorist organizations and peace talks. The priority is to build consensus and resolve problems rather than blame one another or be preoccupied with differences. We need to not only keep up the momentum of political settlement but also bring this process onto an irreversible track.

China's position has been consistent. Basically, we are committed to the political settlement of the Syrian issue, having the Syrian people independently determine the future of Syria and having the UN as the main channel for mediation. We now face five main tasks, i.e. initiation of peace talks, ceasefire and cessation of violence, joint efforts in fighting terrorism, humanitarian assistance and economic reconstruction. These five issues, closely related and mutually reinforcing, should be advanced in a coordinated manner. At the same time, it is important to advance efforts on different fronts at different stages on a priority basis. We believe ceasefire and cessation of violence is the most pressing task. Without ceasefire, peace talks can hardly move forward. Lack of progress in peace talks would undermine the consensus and foundation for ceasefire. Therefore, ceasefire and peace talks should be the first steps in advancing the political process.

On peace talks, China's position is clear. The list of opposition representatives that will attend negotiations should be open and as broad-based, balanced and inclusive as possible. China believes that all those that do not engage in violent extremist and terrorist activities, support the political process and are willing to lay down their arms deserve an opportunity to participate in negotiations. Some work has already been done at the meetings in Moscow and Cairo. The list Saudi Arabia presented is an important foundation to work on, which could be adjusted and expanded based on suggestions from different parties. The UN could be involved in this process to make it more authoritative and legitimate. We could consider inviting the UN to join the final discussions so as to come up with a consolidated list of opposition representatives acceptable to all and identify those that will participate in the peace talks. In the meantime, relevant countries, whenever they can, should further engage the Syrian government and encourage it to make the decision and come to the negotiating table. China has been facilitating peace talks in its own way. We will soon invite representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to visit China and will continue to play a constructive role in facilitating peace talks.

On ceasefire, the UN has taken some worthy steps and gained some experience. China believes that, given the current circumstances, the pragmatic and viable approach is to start with the easier and gradually move from partial to comprehensive ceasefire. The scope of ceasefire could be expanded as peace talks move forward and mutual trust grows. As the first step, humanitarian ceasefire could be applied in densely populated areas including Damascus, Aleppo and Holmes, from where the warring parties remove their heavy weapons. At the international level, the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) could release a statement jointly announcing the suspension of heavy offensive weapons supply to any party in Syria. The Security Council should mandate the establishment of a ceasefire monitoring mission in due course and, when conditions are ripe, the deployment of peacekeeping operations.

On counter-terrorism, the key is to step up coordination and create synergy. Recent events show that, in addition to severely undermining the efficacy and efficiency in fighting terrorism, lack of coordination could also trigger accidents. We hope this foreign ministers' meeting will coordinate counter-terrorism efforts by different parties in Syria so as to form synergy. We encourage the US-led international counter-terrorism coalition, the Russian-led counter-terror coalition and Saudi-led Islamic countries' military coalition against terrorism to step up communication and coordinate their counter-terrorism efforts. There should be greater coordination in military actions as well as intelligence exchange and cutting off the flow of terrorists and their funding. China has been cooperating with relevant countries on intelligence, movement of terrorists and financial flow. We stand ready to increase communication and exchanges with all parties to jointly address the threat of terrorism.

On humanitarian assistance, it is important to ensure a successful conference on humanitarian aid to Syria to shore up greater support for Syria and its neighbors. China has, through multiple channels, sent nine batches of humanitarian assistance totaling RMB685 million to Syria and regional countries. At the recent G20 Summit, President Xi Jinping pledged another US$100 million of humanitarian assistance to relevant countries and international organizations, demonstrating China's sense of responsibility to ensure people's well-being and ease the humanitarian crisis. We stand ready to step up coordination with relevant parties and help people in the region to tide over the difficulties.

On reconstruction, it is necessary to start looking into plans to help the Syrian economy and society gradually return to the right track. We could consider setting up a friends of Syrian reconstruction group and convene a donors conference for Syrian reconstruction in a timely manner. We propose putting in place a UN-led reconstruction trust fund which would welcome the participation of various parties, especially countries in the region, and the private sector, so as to ensure the quality of reconstruction. We need to encourage voluntary return of refugees through reconstruction efforts and incorporate special funding program on the rehabilitation and re-employment of returned refugees in international assistance.

The Syrian issue is a highly complex one. As the political process evolves, differences among various parties are unavoidable. Intransigence leads to deadlock, only compromise and accommodation can open up possibilities. We hope all parties can put aside their disagreement, build consensus, seize opportunities, overcome difficulties and jointly advance the political process so as to bring the Syrian people back to a life of peace and tranquility.

Thank you.

Suggest to a friend
Print