The EU should not expect a “quick fix” in Syria, China’s special envoy on the issue said, warning that “imposing a solution” from the outside would “not be workable”.
Xie Xiaoyan was in Brussels for the second time in a month and met officials from the EU external service before heading to Moscow. He told a group of journalists that China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, had a “shared interest” with the EU to find a political solution in Syria.
He said that Beijing agreed with the EU on the need to have a cease-fire and a political discussion on “a transitional authority, democratic elections and a rewriting of a constitution”.
While describing the talks with EU diplomats as a “useful, informative discussion”, Xie admitted that China and the EU “may have different approaches as to how to resolve the crisis”.
He said that all parties involved, including the EU, should be aware that they would “meet difficulties, twists and turns, ups and downs, flips-flops”.
“It will not be a smooth sailing,” he said, adding that the 6-year old conflict was “the most complicated issue in [his] diplomatic career”, because “there are so many players”.
Earlier this month, EU foreign affairs ministers said that “there can be no lasting peace in Syria under the current regime” of Bashar el Assad.
But for the Chinese envoy, “regime change will bring disaster” in Iraq and Libya, where Western powers took dictators Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi down.
“External forces have a role to play but there is a line beyond which it is meddling in internal affairs of another country,” said Xie, insisting on a fundamental principle of China’s diplomacy.
He said that the future of the Syrian regime and of its leader – whose name he didn’t use – as well as what kind of government would replace it, are “in nature internal affairs of Syria”.
“It’s not our job to make a pre-judgement, it’s not our duty to decide the future of that particular person,” he added.
“Don’t think we are more clever than the Syrian people himself,” he insisted.
He said that China “strongly advocates” the Syrian regime and the opposition to “engage in serious discussions and make progress”. He added that both sides “should abandon the illusion that they can win militarily”.
The Chinese Syria envoy said that Beijing could talk with all parties involved in Syria, in the region and at a global level, and that it wanted to be “bridge the gaps” between all.