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Chinese senior diplomat meets with Syria’s Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets China's Special Envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, in the capital, Damascus, on April 29, 2023. (Photo by SANA news agency)

China's Special Envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as part of a new push to find a political solution for the long-running Syrian conflict.

Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that the Chinese envoy held talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in the capital Damascus on Saturday, before meeting with Assad.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry had announced Zhai Jun’s planned visit to Damascus a day earlier.

The latest development comes almost a week after Moscow hosted a meeting of the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran as part of efforts to normalize relations between Ankara and Damascus.

Achieving lasting peace and security topped the agenda of the four-party talks. The participants reaffirmed their desire to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria and intensify efforts for the speedy return of Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, China has repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional lifting of all US sanctions against Syria, so that the war-torn Arab country could develop its economy and compensate for the losses caused by the war.

Last April, Beijing voiced concern about the dire economic situation in Syria, emphasizing that the responsibility of helping the Syrian people lies with the international community.

Also last March, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, reiterated at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council that Syria's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity must be recognized, as well as the Syrian people's right to sustainable livelihood opportunities and development.”

Syria suffers harsh economic woes because of the US sanctions and military presence in the country. Damascus has also accused American froces of plundering Syria's natural resources.

The United States invaded Syria in 2014 at the head of scores of its allies under the pretext of battling the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The US-led coalition has maintained its illegal presence, despite the fact that it was Syria and its allies, including Iran and Russia, who defeated the terrorist outfit in late 2017.

The Pentagon claims that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

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