Syrian foreign minister to visit China this week

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem will be visiting China from Dec 23-26.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem will be visiting China from Dec 23-26. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

BEIJING (Reuters) - Syria's foreign minister will visit China this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, amid a renewed bid by Beijing to play a more active role in finding an end to the conflict.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem will be in China from Dec 23-26 and will meet his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

Wang over the weekend invited Syrian government and opposition figures to come to China as Beijing looks to ways to help with the peace process.

China has played host to both Syrian government and opposition figures before, though it remains a peripheral diplomatic player in the crisis.

While relying on the region for oil supplies, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syrian peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives.