China and Britain have agreed on a joint statement addressing the situation in Syria, the two countries’ senior foreign affairs officials said on Jan 5.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the two nations have decided to issue the statement to support a political solution to the Syrian issue and “support Syrian people to decide on their own future”.
He made the comments at a joint news conference held with visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
Hammond said the statement shows the commitment of the two countries－both members of the International Syria Support Group－to “end the bloody civil war in Syria and to allow a better future for people in Syria”.
A delegation from the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is visiting China. During the visit, China will encourage the delegates to form a negotiation delegation “accepted by all parties” to hold talks with the Syrian government, Wang said.
The visit follows an announcement by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Beijing on Dec 24 that the Syrian government will hold talks with the opposition parties in Syria as soon as the latter come up with a list for a negotiation delegation.
Wang reiterated on Jan 5 that peace talks and political solutions are the only correct ways to address the Syrian issue. China’s efforts to promote talks and political solutions “are totally in line with the Syrian people’s fundamental and long-term interests”, he said.
Hammond said he hopes the two countries make further progress in bilateral issues and in their work together on multilateral concerns, “particularly around the global security agenda, where we have shared interests in the global battle against Daesh (Islamic State) and more broadly against terrorism”.
He emphasized that the United Kingdom hopes that progress can be made in implementing a series of agreements achieved during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain in October.
Li Guofu, a researcher of the Middle East at the China Institute of International Studies, said the joint statement shows that international society has reached an agreement on addressing the Syrian issue through political solutions.
“It’s not only China’s stance, but China has also gained support from an important European country. This shows that China and Europe have a lot of consensus on this issue,” he said.