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    China Ready to Work With Russia on Post-War Reconstruction in Syria

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    China is ready to work with relevant countries including Russia in post-war reconstruction efforts in Syria, China’s Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – In March, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that Damascus would lean primarily on Russia, China and Iran in rebuilding the country after five years of destruction.

    "China is positive about taking part in post-war reconstruction in Syria, and we are ready to cooperate with Russia and other relevant parties," Xie said, after talks with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for Middle East settlement Sergei Vershinin held on Thursday.

    Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Halqi said through a Russian lawmaker, who visited Damascus as part of a delegation this month, that Russian companies would be given priority in the works to restore critical infrastructure when the Syrian conflict ends.

    World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim estimated this month that the cost of rebuilding Syria could reach as high as $180 billion.

    China’s Special Envoy Upholds Continued Process to Syrian Settlement Despite Setbacks

    The political process to resolve the civil war in Syria is continuing despite a number of setbacks that are "natural" in the diplomatic context, Xie Xiaoyan told Sputnik.

    The second round of UN-mediated proximity talks between Syrian government and opposition delegates wrapped up in Geneva on Wednesday, with a walkout staged by a Saudi-backed opposition platform and renewed fighting in recent weeks.

    "Although now the political process might be slow, it has not been put on hold and the negotiations are continuing," Xie said.

    The Chinese diplomat noted that the crisis "did not crop up overnight, so we should not expect to solve it overnight." He reaffirmed the United Nations’ role as the main channel of mediation and called on all parties to engage in inclusive dialogue to find a solution "suited to the actual conditions of the country and that accommodates concerns of all parties."

    "The negotiation is going to be an incremental process, and it is all very natural to experience some twists and turns and setbacks," Xie added, echoing Special UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s assertions.

    Xie urged the sides to "stay on track" with the political process, and follow the principle of starting with "relatively easier issues first before moving on to the more difficult ones" to gradually build consensus and move forward.

    "Russia, as you know, is China’s comprehensive strategic partner of coordination, therefore China is ready to compare notes on a regular basis on the Syrian issue with Russia, and work closely together to make positive efforts to promote the political solution," Xie said.

    The envoy added that his discussion with Vershinin was "very intensive and pleasant," and that the two reached consensus on key issues.

    Speaking at a confidence-building measures conference in Beijing on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping upheld the "common goal of the international community" to resolve the Syrian conflict in its fifth year.

    "We appreciate Russia in its unswerving efforts in fighting terrorism and promoting the [intra-Syria] talks," Xie said.

    Russia, together with the United States, brokered the cessation of hostilities between Syrian government and rebel forces that took effect on February 27 and excludes designated terrorist groups active on the ground.

    Russia additionally co-chairs the International Syria Support Group, an international format of regional and global powers including China aiming to resolve the five-year Syrian crisis.


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