End violence, China tells Syria
BEIJING CHINA’S envoy to Syria told President Bashar al Assad’s government and other parties to stop the violence and help the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross send aid to strife-hit areas, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the envoy also promoted mediation between the Syrian government and opposition groups.
The trip by envoy Li Huaxin appears to be the latest initiative to counter accusations from Western and Arab governments that China, along with Russia, abetted expanding violence by Assad’s forces by vetoing two UN resolutions aimed at pressuring him out of office.
“He urged the Syrian government and other concerned parties to stop the violence immediately, actively cooperate with the UN and ICRC to ease the humanitarian situation, in particular in Homs,” Liu said, summarising Li’s talks with Syrian officials this week.
Opposition-held neighbourhoods of Homs have been bombarded into submission by state forces.
Li’s comments build on a six-point statement issued by Beijing over the weekend.
China warned other powers not to use humanitarian aid for Syria to “interfere” and urged Assad’s government and other sides to “immediately, fully and unconditionally” stop fighting.
“The Syrian government spoke positively of China’s six-point proposal. The Syrian government side states it would like to cooperate with the UN agencies in the humanitarian field, on the basis of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Liu in his account of the envoy’s talks. Liu said that Li met the Syrian foreign minister, deputy foreign minister and representatives of three opposition groups.
He did not name the groups. China and other powers have met behind closed doors at the United Nations to discuss a new USdrafted resolution urging an end to the crackdown on the revolt against Assad and unhindered humanitarian access.
As one of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members, China has the power to veto any resolutions, and it joined Russia to exercise that veto power on Syrian measures in October and February.