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China Offers Syria Millions to Help Displaced Refugees, Says It Hopes to Promote Peace

( [email protected] ) Jun 06, 2014 12:02 AM EDT
China recently offered $16 million in humanitarian assistance for refugees from the conflict in Syria. This move was in part an attempt to promote peace in the war-torn Syrian regions as well as increase diplomatic relations between the Arab world.
Xi Jinpingi s the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the President of the People's Republic of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. (AP)

The People's Republic of China recently offered $16 million in humanitarian assistance for refugees from the conflict in Syria.

This donation, which is reportedly part of Beijing's growing engagement with the Arab world, will go to Syrians seeking shelter in nearby countries, including Jordan and Lebanon, Chinese President Xi Jinping was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The President, speaking to Arab delegates at the sixth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Bejing, called the Arab countries China's "good friends and brothers." He revealed that his country would make every effort to promote peace and stability in the Middle East and would give nearly $10 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

The United Nation's refugee agency (UNHCR) said Friday that the Palestine now leads the world in forced displacement, with more than 9 million people uprooted as a result of the uprising against the rule of authoritarian President Bashar Assad. The number of people uprooted - half of which are children - equals 40 percent of the country's pre-war population.

China's ties with the Middle East have expanded along with its rising diplomatic profile and growing dependence on imported crude oil, ABC News reports.

Saudi Arabia is China's largest supplier, followed by Iran, Oman, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

China has been criticized for its close ties to Iran and, with Russia, has four times vetoed U.N. Security Council sanctions on Assad's regime, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says the country wants to negotiate an end to the conflict.

"No matter how the situation develops in Syria, a political resolution is the only realistic way to solve the Syrian crisis. All sides should work toward that end," Hong said.

President Assad has not yet revealed whether he will run for a third term in defiance of rebel groups fighting to overthrow him and Western leaders who have demanded he relinquish power to help end Syria's civil war.

However, Syria's parliament has set residency rules for presidential candidates, state media said on Friday, which would bar many of Assad's currently exiled enemies.

No one in the opposition has announced an intention to challenge Assad in elections that are due to be held by July. Many have lived outside of Syria since before the revolt began in March 2011, and more left in the following security crackdown.