The Middle East Security Forum hosted by China was an important opportunity to identify the problems of the region and discuss ways of cooperation with the Chinese side to find solutions, said Ezzat Saad, Director of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), in a recent Interview.

Themed “Security in the Middle East under the New Situation: Challenges and Prospects,” the forum, held in Beijing on November 27 & 28, focused on topics including regional fairness and justice, multilateralism, development for security, and dialogue among Civilisations.

More than 200 Senior Officials and experts in the fields of strategy, diplomacy and security from China and the Middle East participated in the forum, including former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and former Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Jawad Anani.

This Forum “provided the Chinese side with an opportunity to get acquainted with the views of the participants from different affiliations and backgrounds, so that China could help handle the Middle East problems related to security or stability,” said Saad, who also attended the Forum.

He expected that the forum will bring a Chinese proposal on the Middle East region which “welcomes any initiative put forward by the Chinese side regarding stability and security.”

China and the Middle East countries have strong willingness to promote economic and trade exchanges, as well as scientific, technological and cultural cooperation through the Belt & Road Initiative or other mechanisms, the Egyptian official noted.

Saad said that there is a consensus among the participants in the forum that China, with regards to its current economic and trade strength in the world and its geopolitical weight at the international level, could play a major role in promoting security in the Middle East.

“I believe the regional countries should first reach a consensus over some issues and reach a formula on settling them before asking China to help,” he said.

However, there are some chronic security problems which may not be caused by the Middle East countries but incurred foreign interventions, the ECFA director said.

He cited the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the NATO’s Military Intervention in Libya, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq as examples of problems that the Arab countries could not handle alone.

“China is very concerned with a safe and stable Middle East region,” he said, highlighting China’s large investment in the region, its plans for people development, and its nearly 50-percent of energy imports from the Middle East.

“When we consider the Chinese leader’s political views, we find that they are mainly based on promoting peace and development and fighting isolation,” Saad stressed.

There is also close security cooperation between China and many Arab countries in fighting terrorism, organised cross border crime and others, Saad said, as “such cooperation is essential to security in the region.”

The ECFA director noted that China attaches great importance to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs, sovereign equality, as well as respect for the values, culture and traditions of other Countries.

“China’s Security Cooperation is based on mutual benefits. Dispatching Foreign Military forces to interfere in other countries does not exist in China’s Foreign Policy,” he noted.