Peaceful approach to Syria
Updated: 2012-03-14 08:08
The high-level meeting on the current situation in the Middle East held by the United Nations Security Council on Monday once again revealed the divide in the international community over how to end the crisis in Syria.
In essence, there is a stark division between those who advocate the world body pursue political solutions and those who endorse more aggressive approaches, ranging from arming civilians in Syria to a forced regime change.
A lasting solution to a crisis like Syria's does require the extensive engagement of the international community, with the United Nations playing a leading role. But all the initiatives should be in line with the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations.
Times have changed and we no longer live in an era when a few big powers can assume they have the right to dictate the fate of smaller countries. Respect for sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, which are enshrined in the UN Charter, must prevail.
Any external interference in a sovereign state runs counter to the UN Charter and international law.
In this regard, NATO's interference in Libya offers lessons that the world community would do well to learn. The UN resolutions on Libya were usurped by the Western powers in order that they might militarily intervene in the country. Despite achieving their goal of a forced regime change, the military intervention has only increased the suffering of the Libyan people.
China, among many other countries including Russia and India, insists political settlement is a better choice and opposes foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Syria under the pretext of "humanitarianism". It joined Russia in vetoing council resolutions on Syria last month, saying they were unbalanced and only sought to replace President Bashar al-Assad.
China has also offered to provide $2 million worth of humanitarian aid to Syria and expressed its readiness to step up communication and cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council on Syria.
To prevent more humanitarian disasters and save more lives in Syria is the top priority right now. And it is essential that the proposed approaches should be realistic and feasible.
It is imperative that there is an immediate ceasefire in Syria, to enable the unhindered access of humanitarian aid to those in need and to pave the way for the early launch of political dialogue.
(China Daily 03/14/2012 page9)