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Saturday, January 7, 2017, 12:34

Envoy: China hopes Astana peace talks will bear fruit

By Xinhua

Envoy: China hopes Astana peace talks will bear fruit
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (left) shakes hands with China's Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan during a meeting meeting in the Palais des Nations (Palais des Nations) in Geneva on April 18, 2016. (Xu Jinquan / POOL / AFP)

GENEVA - Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Syrian Issue Xie Xiaoyan on Friday said that both the UN and China welcome the upcoming Astana talks, with the hope that the talks will bear some fruit for the political process of the war-torn country.

We hope the Astana meeting will be carried out in the same manner as those peace talks in the past, being representative and tolerant

Xie Xiaoyan, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Syrian Issue

Xie, now in Geneva in an effort to help working on a political solution to the Syrian crisis, said it is unclear which sides will take part in the talks scheduled on Jan 23, but surely "Chinese representatives will be present."

"We hope the Astana meeting will be carried out in the same manner as those peace talks in the past, being representative and tolerant," he said.

After Geneva, Xie will travel to the European Union, Turkey and Russia. His journey is aimed at enhancing communication with the parties concerned, supporting global efforts in promoting peace and pushing forward a political solution at an early date.

Recently, the Syrian government and major opposition groups reached a nationwide ceasefire deal and agreed to start peace talks, which brought new opportunity for a political solution to the Syrian issue.

The UN Security Council last Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Syria ceasefire arrangement brokered by Russia and Turkey, as well as new peace talks among conflicting parties set to be held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

The ceasefire is the third in Syria after two previous ones failed last year. The first was reached in February 2016 and lasted for three months before collapsing, while the second was established in September and was observed for only a week.

Xie, China's former ambassador to Iran and Ethiopia as well as representative to the African Union, was appointed the special envoy on the Syrian issue in March 2016, with the aim of better promoting dialogue and communicating with other parties to facilitate a solution.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said earlier Thursday that preparations were being made for the talks.

"We, the UN, believe that any effort that consolidates the cessation of hostilities and helps in preparing for a discussion that will take place here in Geneva in February is certainly welcomed," de Mistura told reporters following a humanitarian task force meeting.

During an interview with Xinhua on Friday after meeting with Xie Xiaoyan, de Mistura said that he hoped that the talks will pave the way towards the UN-mediated political discussions based on UN Security Council resolution 2254 in Geneva on Feb 8.

"Astana is an important opportunity and that's why both China and the UN support this initiative. We are looking forward in Astana to seeing the consolidation of the cessation of hostilities," Staffan de Mistura said.

"What the Syrian people are asking for is a stop to the fighting, so if by the time there is a meeting on this on Jan 23 in Astana and the cessation of hostilities is consolidated and not broken as we have seen at times in the last few days, that is an important moment," he added.

 
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