February 5, 2013 (TSR) – Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo met Tuesday with Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces Chairman Ahmed Moaz Al-khatib in Cairo.
Song said during the meeting that China has all along been deeply concerned about and attached importance to the Syrian issue.
China adheres to finding a political solution based on the fundamental interests of the people of Syria and the Middle East, the tenets and principles of the United Nations Charter, and the norms in international relations, the ambassador said, stressing that Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity should be respected and that Syria’s future and destiny should be determined by the Syrian people themselves.
Song said that China supports an early realization of a political transition led by the Syrian people and that it will be positive and open to any solution acceptable to all Syrian parties.
He added that China has taken note of Al-Khatib’s recent diplomatic activities for resolving the Syrian issue through political means and hopes that all Syrian parties will soon launch inclusive political dialogues and reach a solution through patient and thorough negotiations and consultations on an equal footing.
Al-Khatib, for his part, said Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces also advocates a political solution to the Syrian issue, and welcomes China’s continued efforts in this regard.
Syrian opposition’s sudden desire for talks mirrors change in superpowers’ stance
The exiled opposition’s recent surprising desire for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’ s leadership mirrors the change in the western stance toward Syria, mainly because of the long-time impasse on the battlefield and the rising of radical groups, analysts say.
The head of the main opposition coalition in exile, Moaz Al- khatib, on Monday urged the Damascus government to start talks for al-Assad’s departure, a motion unlikely to be accepted by the Syrian government, which has yet to respond.
Al-Khatib, who has recently been elected as the head of the Syrian National Coalition, called on Assad to give his vice- president, Farouk al-Sharaa, the task of opening negotiations and said it aims at helping the Syrian administration stand down peacefully and spare further bloodshed.
“The ball is now in the regime’s court. They will either say yes or no,” he said.
Al-Khatib’s recent remarks are the third one to be made in the same regard after he made surprising statements last week saying that he accepted dialoguing representatives of the Syrian administration on condition of releasing detainees and renewing traveling documents for opposition abroad.
Al-Khatib’s surprising step has also been welcomed by the United States.
Bassam Abuabdalla, an international law professor at the Damascus’ University said that “When the U.S. stance has changed, we saw a change in the rhetoric of the opposition.”
He told Xinhua on Tuesday that al-Khatib’s remarks were made as preparations for the upcoming Russian-U.S. summit that will discuss principles of the solution of the Syrian crisis in accordance with the Geneva Statement, which Syria has previously agreed on.
Analyzing the change in the U.S. stance, Abuabdalla contended that Washington has come to a conclusion that there is no prospect for the current opposition with the armed groups on ground overwhelmed by foreign jihadists and radicals, saying “there is an understanding between the United States and Russia, and the Obama administration cannot take more risk with the growing presence of armed radicals.”
“The United States has realized that it’s impossible to bring down the regime in Syria in that way (armed rebellion),” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamdi al-Abdullah, a political researcher, agreed with Abdulla and said the change in the U.S. stance and the opposition was due to the “desperation over the possibility of ending the conflict in Syria by toppling the regime via the armed rebellion.”
Speaking to Xinhua over the phone Tuesday, Abdulla attributed the shift in the West’s stance to the fear of the growing extreme organizations and the gravity of prolonging the crisis, which would further empower the radical groups and threaten the western interests in the region.
The third reason, Abdullah claimed, is the popular stance toward the armed rebels, explaining that people have started to complain of the rebels’ existence in populated areas and their actions.
On al-Khatib’s calls for conditioned dialogue, Abdullah said the dialogue should be based on no preconditions.
Downplaying the opposition leader’s demands for the release of detainees and renewing travel documents for Syrians abroad, the political expert said such terms are “unconvincing” and ” formalities,” saying that al-Khatib put forward those terms to justify the sudden change of stances.
Meanwhile, Esam Khalil, a Syrian parliamentarian, hoped that the opposition’s new approach toward dialogue would be based on a realistic vision and not only a reaction to the state of depression after the failure of the armed rebellion inside Syria.
He said that the government in Syria can’t “seriously consider” al-Khatib’s calls “unless they express an overt and clear stances, ” namely “rejecting foreign intervention in Syria, denouncing terrorism, hatred and sectarian speech as well as preserving the unity and sovereignty of Syria.”
Khalil expressed hope that the national interest would prevail and the solution to Syria would be made purely by Syrians for the interest of people.