Beijing holds forum on security, development in the Middle East
By Zheng Yibing

For the first time ever, Beijing is holding a forum on security in the Middle East. Some 200 international participants are joining in discussions at the two-day event, sharing ideas to promote peace and stability in the region.  

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says upholding security and safety in this region, is the key to world peace.  

"It is our hope that this forum will provide a useful platform for parties to explore new ideas and new approaches for regional security governance," said Chen Xiaodong, Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs.  

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Participants from the Middle East and other parts of the world are in on the discussions.  One particular point is to achieve reconciliation and refrain from taking the old path of forming opposing camps.  

Fadi Esber, a senior researcher of Wathiqat Wattan Foundation from Syria expressed his thoughts: "In the past three decades since the end of the Cold War, we have unilateral intervention in internal affairs of countries up to invasion, like what's happening in Iraq and Libya. And these policies led to the spread of chaos and destruction in the region," he said. 

As for solutions in countries like Syria, Iraq and Palestine, participants propose in building fairness and justice, multilateralism, common development, and a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. Some say for shared goals, two approaches must be combined.  

"One, development in order to deal with poverty and unemployment, and at the same time solving security problems in peaceful ways and in accordance with international legality," said Dr. Ghassan Khatib, former Palestinian minister of labor.  

The forum fulfills a promise made by Chinese President Xi Jinping a year ago during the conference on China-Arab States Cooperation.  

And now, the forum hopes to bring attention to the Middle East through building a shared future for all sides.  

Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister, said that they need such a conference and international powers to start injecting this idea and concept. 

Following the opening ceremony, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with event participants and sent best wishes for the forum and a good outcome for peace and stability in the Middle East.  

The forum is expected to serve as a link among all relevant countries. The organizers say it matters to listen to different voices and only through this can security and other issues in the Middle East find solutions.