When China joined hands with Russia on Saturday to veto an Arab-European draft UN resolution backing an Arab League plan to promote a regime change in Syria, its stance was consistent with its approach to international issues.
The draft resolution that sought to realize a regime change in Syria did not adequately reflect the state of affairs in this Middle East country.
In putting the resolution to the vote, Western powers hoped to further exert pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, thus paving the way for the removal of a regime that is an obstacle to their policies in the Middle East.
By only exerting pressure on the Syrian government and explicitly trying to coerce its leader al-Assad to step down, the resolution sends the message to armed groups and opponents of his regime that they have the support of the international community. This will undoubtedly make the Syrian situation even more complicated and make it impossible for all parties to reach a conciliatory agreement that is in the best interests of the country and its people.
We’ve seen what happened in Libya. With the armed intervention by some major Western powers, the Libyan regime was overthrown. But instead of the democracy and freedom they were promised, Libyan people cannot even live in peace as the country is in the danger of falling into a sectarian civil war.
It is not a question of whether Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad should step down or not. It is whether the ever-worsening crisis in the country will be brought to an end in such a way that the country will not be plunged into a sectarian civil war and its people plunged into even greater misery.
China maintains that any attempt by the international community to help Syria solve its crisis must respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country.
A messy civil war in Syria will not be conducive to peace in the Middle East.
Russia’s stance that conditions should not be imposed on dialogue, and that any efforts should influence not just the government but also the armed groups is reasonable. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Mikhail Fradkov, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, will travel to Syria on Feb 7 to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The draft resolution was presented too hastily and the international community should give the Russian diplomatic endeavor time to soften the positions of all the parties in Syria so that an agreement can be reached that is for the good of the country.
The Chinese government believes that, in line with the UN Charter, political consultations are the best way to help a nation solve any political crisis.