A high-level delegation from the Syrian National Council (SNC) headed by Dr. Burhan Ghalioun and including George Sabra, Ahmad Ramadan, Najib Ghadbian, Abdel-Ahad Stefo and Alia Mansour visited the Chinese capital Beijing and held talks with the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister (FM), who affirmed that China is a friend to all Syrians, and not just to one specific person. The Deputy FM also said that the Chinese government is exerting its utmost pressure on the Syrian regime to put an end to the violence. He reiterated that it is people who write history, and indicated that China supports a political solution for Syria and stands behind the Kofi Annan's peace plan. The Deputy FM also refuted claims that China has any selfish or greater interests in Syria, and said that China is acting on a principle that rejects foreign intervention, and has only the interest of the Syrian people in mind.
The SNC delegation also met with a leader from the Chinese Communist Party. They explained to the Director of External Communication for the Central Committee what is really happening on the ground in Syria and pointed out the regime's continuous violations of the ceasefire. The delegation reiterated that the Assad regime refuses to heed the people's calls for freedom and dignity, and continues to respond to them with absolute force.
In turn, the Chinese director stressed that China has taken a balanced position in regards to current events in Syria, and has no personal hidden agenda for Syria. Furthermore, he reaffirmed that China's position is in line with the principles of the UN Charter, and that the country is working to protect the Syrian people and ensure stability in Syria and the region as a whole. He concluded by saying that political systems and governments may change, but relationships between people are longstanding.
The SNC delegation also met with Chinese FM Yang Jiechi who stated that China stands with the Syrian people, but is against any military intervention in the country, a principle based on China's acceptance of the UN Charter. He added that Kofi Annan's peace plan is the most viable solution for the Syrian crisis, saying that the political solution is the least costly solution that looks out for the interests of the Syrian people. Furthermore, he reaffirmed China's full support to the enactment of UN resolutions 2042 and 2043, which include sending a delegation of UN observers into Syria. He added that China rejects any prior stipulations for political discourse, and that it supports any solution that will benefit the Syrian people. The FM highlighted the importance of strengthening the relationship between the SNC and China, and promised to look into issuing a permit an official SNC office in the country. He concluded by saying that the golden rule that applies in all situations is that governments and regimes need to respond to the demands of their people.
The meeting with the FM was scheduled to be an hour long, but instead lasted for 2 hours and 10 minutes. The SNC delegation took advantage of this opportunity to clear up misconceptions China had about the Syrian revolution, such as the belief that the SNC or the revolutionaries belongs to only one sect of the Syrian people. The Chinese government promised to pressure the regime into implementing Annan's plan, and said that they would no longer stand by the regime if it did not follow through with the peace plan.
The SNC delegation stressed a few main points, including:
The SNC is committed to Annan's peace plan that provides a peaceful mechanism for establishing a democratic regime in Syria. However, the plan must include a timetable and must bring about visible results on the ground in Syria, starting with an end to the killing. Additionally, the ultimate goal of the plan must be to oust the tyrannical Assad regime.
The peace plan must work to exert serious pressure on the Assad regime by placing binding sanctions based Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. It should also provide credible threats for the use of force against the regime if it does not abide by the plan.
Negotiations for the establishment of a democratic system are the final step in the Arab and internationally agreed upon plan, and therefore these negotiations will not take place until the murder comes to an end, the army withdraws from cities, prisoners are freed, the right to peaceful demonstration is granted, and monitors, journalists and relief workers are allowed to travel freely around the country.
The SNC delegation informed China that the Annan peace plan is not open-ended and must have some sort of time limit. The UN Security Council and the international community must be prepared to immediately respond if the regime fails to carry out the plan, which is the more than likely scenario.