China Ready to Take Part in Astana Talks as Observer

MOSCOW- China is ready to join the Astana talks on Syria as an observer, provided that a formal invitation is made, the Chinese government’s Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan told reporters on Thursday.

"Today I met the deputy foreign minister, his Excellency Mr. Bogdanov, we had a lengthy discussion on the situation right now in Syria, what China and Russia can do to promote peace dialogue among the different parties," Xie Xiaoyan said. "We want to continue discussions with our Russian colleagues on every aspect of the Syrian issue either in Moscow or in Beijing, in Geneva or New York," he added, according to Itar Tass.

 According to the Chinese envoy, Beijing and Moscow have been holding fruitful consultations on the Syria issue. He pointed out that it was his third visit to Moscow in the past year.

According to him, China has not received such an invitation yet. "But we heard reports that some of the senior Russian diplomats put forward such a proposal that some additional observers are welcome to participate in the Astana process," the Chinese government’s envoy said. "If China officially receives such a suggestion, then we will have very positive considerations and respond accordingly," Xie Xiaoyan added.

Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Xie Xiaoyan have emphasized the importance of dialogue on Syria between Moscow and Beijing, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"The meeting’s participants emphasized the importance of maintaining close and trust-based cooperation on the Syria issue between Russia and China both on bilateral level and on international platforms, particularly within the United Nations," the statement reads.

The diplomats stressed the need to respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the country. "There was a discussion of measures to stabilize the military and political situation in Syria, eliminate the hot spot of international terrorism and improve the humanitarian situation," the Russian Foreign Ministry added. "The parties highlighted the need to continue international and regional efforts to facilitate the process of political settlement in Syria based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254," the statement said.

On September 15, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari said that the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - Iran, Russia and Turkey - had been holding consultations on inviting more observers to the Astana talks. Russian Special Presidential Representative for resolving the crisis in Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, in turn, said that China, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon could become observers. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Beijing was ready to actively facilitate the Astana talks.

H.M

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