April 20th, 2012 | People's Daily More efforts needed despite good news from Middle East
The past week has brought a string of good news for the Middle East. On April 14, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2042 authorizing sending an advance team of 30 unarmed military observers to Syria to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence by all Syrian parties and on the implementation of a six-point peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan. The advance team started monitoring the ceasefire in Syria on April 16 immediately after arriving in Damascus. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he would submit a proposal to the Security Council to increase the number of observers to 250.
Also on April 14, the representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China began their first nuclear talks with Iranian negotiators in Turkey’s Istanbul. All parties hailed the talks as positive and constructive, and arranged to meet the Iranian delegation again in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, for the next round of nuclear talks on May 23. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said that important consensus had been reached despite some differences. If all parties maintain their current cooperative attitude, a draft cooperation agreement will be signed during the Baghdad talks, making the official start of bilateral cooperation.
For some time, the Syrian crisis and Iranian nuclear issue have been two hot issues affecting the peace and stability in the Middle East and the world. Major powers have been divided in ways to resolve the two issues. Although they are different in nature, the two issues both have deep-rooted causes, and have existed for a long time, making it a long and difficult process to resolve them. As the saying goes, it is always darkest before the dawn. The two issues have entered the “deep-water zone,” where the clashes of various parties’ core interests intensify conflicts and make coordination more difficult.
As far as the Syrian issue is concerned, the current ceasefire is quite fragile. The key is to make sure the sustainability of truce and achieve inclusive political dialogue. At present, special envoy Annan is discussing with the Syrian opposition about establishment of an assistant mechanism to promote talks with the Syrian government. Of course, some countries have not yet given up the attempt of regime change in Syria, which added the complexity of the problem and made it more difficult to compromise.
As for Iranian nuclear issue, some Western nations including the United States think that Iran makes nuclear weapons in the name of civil nuclear program and it might secretly purify the enriched uranium with a purity of 20 percent to weapon-grade purity, which Iran denied strongly.
In the future talks, both sides certainly will make a big fuss about the problem of uranium purity and make inspection on the table. Previously, the United States and Europe had intensified their sanctions against Iran. They not only embargoed Iran’s oil exports but also wanted to cut off economic arteries of Iran. Iran proposed to exchange cooperation for cancel of sanction. Recently, Israel threatened Iran to attack the country’s nuclear facility. All the above factors make the Iranian nuclear issue difficult to make a breakthrough in the short run.
China has been deeply involved in the above hot issues. It no longer turns a deaf ear in the light of its own interests. Instead it should responsibly mediate and actively participate in the amicable settlement of these issues, which is the best choice to maintain the interests of China.
Li Baodong, China’s permanent representative to the United Nation, said on the General Assembly that China hopes the advance group strictly observes neutrality, fully respects the sovereignty of Syria and accurately performs authorization of the UN Security Council. China called for the international community to continue to support the mediation efforts of Annan.
Ma Zhaoxu, head of Chinese delegation on the talk of Iran’s nuclear issue, said that China hopes the talk has a good start and China is ready to join the other parties to continue to play a constructive role in promoting the fair, reasonable and peaceful resolve of the Iranian nuclear issue.
The cooling of the two hot issues indicates that it is hopeless to resort to force and dialogue and diplomacy are effective. All parties can find ways to resolve the problems so long as they show their sincerity and are based on the principle of solving the problems and defusing conflicts.