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Wang Yi Calls on All Parties in Syria to Seek a "Middle Way"

On January 22, 2014, Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Geneva II Conference on the Syrian issue in Montreux, Switzerland, and delivered a speech. Wang Yi pointed out that all parties in Syria should summon up the political will to make the political decisions, keep to the direction of political settlement and draw on useful experience from elsewhere to find a “middle way”, keeping in mind Syria’s national conditions and accommodating the interests of all parties.

“To draw on useful experience” means to learn from the successful practices of other countries in resolving internal conflict and find a solution acceptable to all parties. Steady progress should be pursued in negotiations. Agreement can be reached first on the principles and framework of negotiation, and early harvest achieved on issues where the two sides are not far apart. As an ongoing process, the Geneva conference should have a clearly-defined follow-up mechanism and serve as an open platform that facilitates the participation of all Syrian parties who are committed to a political settlement.

“Keeping in mind Syria’s national conditions” means to respect the Syrian people’s aspiration for change and at the same time ensure stability and order in the political transition process as well as relative continuity and effectiveness of Syria’s governmental institutions. It is crucial to recognize that there is no military solution and the Syrian people want to see a return of stability and order. Their wish to preserve national unity must be respected and disintegration of the country must be prevented. It is also crucial to appreciate the importance of a stable Syria to peace and security in the Middle East, including preventing the further spread of terrorism and extremism.

“Accommodating the interests of all parties” means to ensure that the political process is broad-based and inclusive so that the views of all parties are fully and fairly reflected. Given the demographic structure and plurality of political reality in Syria, a balance must be struck between the interests of various ethnicities, religions and sects. In this context, it is especially important that the rights and interests of ethnic minorities, refugees and women are guaranteed. Political transition and national reconciliation should be advanced in parallel.

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