The UK and China have issued a joint commitment to promote a political settlement in Syria, following high-level talks between Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing today.
Building on the success of President Xi’s State Visit to the UK in October, the joint statement on Syria is a further example of the breadth of the UK and China’s cooperation on the challenges facing the world, and as fellow permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The UK-China joint statement on Syria:
The UK and China remain deeply concerned by the continued suffering of the Syrian people, the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation, the ongoing conflict and its persistent and brutal violence, the negative impact of terrorism and violent extremist ideology in support of terrorism, the destabilizing effect of the crisis on the region and beyond. The conflict has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions of people.
As members of the P5 we voted in favour of the recent UNSCR 2254. We will continue to engage actively in the ISSG and work with countries from around the region to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the 2012 Geneva Communiqué in its entirety which will help bring an end to the fighting including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions. We both commit ourselves to promote the political settlement of the Syrian issue. We stress that the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria, with the UN playing the role as the main mediator. We acknowledge the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process and reconfirm our support for a national ceasefire as set out in UNSCR2254.
The humanitarian situation is extremely serious and requires urgent support. There are 13.5 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. We call on the international community to do more and we, alongside over sixty other countries, will come together at the London Conference in February to agree how to provide immediate assistance – including responding to the UN’s urgent request for further funding – and also provide support over the longer term.
We agree to advance counter terrorism and a political settlement in parallel. Both our countries face threats from terrorism, and have a shared interest in defeating all terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq as designated by the UN Security Council. We emphasise that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whoever committed. We will continue to support efforts to tackle terrorism and its root causes in the MENA region and elsewhere, including the ongoing conflict in Syria.