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More efforts needed despite good news from Middle East

By Ruan Zongze (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

08:21, April 20, 2012

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

The past week has brought a string of good news for the Middle East. On April 14, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2042 authorizing sending an advance team of 30 unarmed military observers to Syria to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence by all Syrian parties and on the implementation of a six-point peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan. The advance team started monitoring the ceasefire in Syria on April 16 immediately after arriving in Damascus. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he would submit a proposal to the Security Council to increase the number of observers to 250.

Also on April 14, the representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China began their first nuclear talks with Iranian negotiators in Turkey’s Istanbul. All parties hailed the talks as positive and constructive, and arranged to meet the Iranian delegation again in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, for the next round of nuclear talks on May 23. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said that important consensus had been reached despite some differences. If all parties maintain their current cooperative attitude, a draft cooperation agreement will be signed during the Baghdad talks, making the official start of bilateral cooperation.

For some time, the Syrian crisis and Iranian nuclear issue have been two hot issues affecting the peace and stability in the Middle East and the world. Major powers have been divided in ways to resolve the two issues. Although they are different in nature, the two issues both have deep-rooted causes, and have existed for a long time, making it a long and difficult process to resolve them. As the saying goes, it is always darkest before the dawn. The two issues have entered the “deep-water zone,” where the clashes of various parties’ core interests intensify conflicts and make coordination more difficult.

As far as the Syrian issue is concerned, the current ceasefire is quite fragile. The key is to make sure the sustainability of truce and achieve inclusive political dialogue. At present, special envoy Annan is discussing with the Syrian opposition about establishment of an assistant mechanism to promote talks with the Syrian government. Of course, some countries have not yet given up the attempt of regime change in Syria, which added the complexity of the problem and made it more difficult to compromise.

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