Saturday, March 10, 2012

China sending envoy to discuss Syria peace plan

China said Friday it is sending an envoy to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France to explain its position on Syria, after Beijing called for an end to the year-long conflict in the Middle East country.

China unveiled a six-point peace plan last Sunday, calling for an immediate end to the bloody violence and for dialogue between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition.
Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the visit by Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming would "increase communication and consultations with parties concerned over the political resolution of the Syrian crisis".
It was hoped the talks with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France would "build up consensus and push for a fair, peaceful and proper solution of the Syrian issue", Liu told a regular briefing.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Wednesday that Damascus was ready to cooperate with Beijing's six-point plan after meeting Chinese envoy Li Huaxin, the country's former ambassador to Damascus.
Damascus was also ready to "cooperate with the envoy of the United Nations" and the Arab League, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who is due in Syria on Saturday, Muallem said.
Syria's main opposition alliance has previously ruled out talks while Assad remains in power.
Beijing's proposal rejects foreign interference or "external action for regime change" in Syria but supports the role of the UN Security Council "in strict accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN charter".
China and Russia have been widely criticised for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions condemning Syria's bloody crackdown on 12 months of anti-regime protests.
A Britain-based monitoring group said on Wednesday that the death toll since the protests erupted last March had topped 8,400.