China has voiced support for the participation of Iran in the upcoming international conference to discuss the crisis plaguing Syria. “China thinks the Syrian issue cannot be solved without certain important countries in the region and especially not without the participation and support of the countries that have an important influence on the current Syrian situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said. “China is receptive to the participation of Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Lei added in his press conference in Beijing. On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in Moscow to hold an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting, which was held in June 2012. The new event is reportedly expected to take place in early June. Chinese analysts also agree that the Islamic Republic is too influential in the region to be left out of the Geneva 2 meeting on Syria. Former Chinese Ambassador to Syria Shi Yanchun told Press TV that, “Iran is a
major power in the Middle East. When I was ambassador to Syria, the closeness of relations between Iran and Syria left a deep impression on me.” “Everyone knows about Iran’s influence in Syria and the history of close cooperation between the two countries, but now we have some Western countries trying to dictate who can take part in any settlement for Syria and who cannot,” he added. On May 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also underlined the need for the presence of Iran in the upcoming talks. Syria crisis started over two years ago, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the foreign-sponsored militancy.