A Field Vision on the Syrian Crisis: An interview with the Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Syrian Issue
The dialogue with the Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Syrian Issue, Ambassador Xie Xiaoyan, was an important step taken by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), as part of its efforts to follow-up the Syrian crisis developments and the various international positions thereto, with the aim of exploring his field vision on the Syrian crisis and exchanging views with him.
In the meeting, held on 24 September 2017, he was accompanied by Advisor Wang Yongzhao, as well as Ms. Yong Jingyan and Mr. Hong Ming, staff members of the Chinese Embassy in Cairo. They met with Ambassadors Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, Muhammad Badr El Deen Zayed and Muhammad Mustafa Kamal.
The Chinese Envoy put forward his vision, stating that stopping US support for some opposition groups, has effectively and strongly contributed in enabling the Syrian Regime forces to be victorious on the ground, and to regain control on a large chunk of the land that was under the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
However, he pointed out that the battles currently underway between Russia and the US to determine the parties that should receive support on the ground and those that are classified as terrorist groups will not contribute to resolving the crisis.
He spoke about a controversy related to the unification of Syrian Opposition Front in face of the multiplicity of its parties and positions.
He stressed that China welcomes the call by Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, to expand the Astana negotiations by including China, Egypt, UAE and Iraq as observers during the negotiation process, this move that would contribute to the intertwining of international efforts and pave the way towards holding an expanded round of negotiations in Geneva.
In order to complement what he put forward at the start of the meeting, he reiterated in his concluding remarks, that so far as that very moment, there was still no clear vision as to the terms of the future settlement of the crisis.
While presenting ECFA’s views, Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad explained that the “Russian-Chinese” coordination stems from the common position of the two States on the importance of preserving Syria’s independence and respecting the unity of its territories and maintaining its territorial integrity.
He also stressed the need set a comprehensive strategy on how to combat terrorism, not only militarily, but through activating all tools, and not to limit the perception of terrorism to a particular organization or region.
Ambassador Muhammad Badr El Deen Zayed, ECFA member, spoke for his part, on several points, including: the upcoming arrangements under the confrontation between the US and Russia; whether these arrangements will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity or not; whether the regime of Bashar al- Assad will be kept or not; and whether it will take part in future political processes or not.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, ECFA member, pointed out that what is currently happening on the ground is a payment of the high price for the many mistakes made in the crisis by all sides, with the Arabs shouldering the greatest share of responsibility in this regard, and with the Arab League to be blamed for not having played an active role.