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China issues framework for settling Syrian crisis

Graffitti reading "Thank you, Russia" and "Thank you, China" on the wall of the Russian Embassy in Damascus, February 15.

Story highlights

  • China is against armed interference or pushing for regime change
  • Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution last month
  • China says it welcomes the joint special envoy appointment
  • It backs U.N. leadership in relief efforts

China is calling on the Syrian government and others involved to "immediately" stop violence, particularly against innocent civilians, and pursue a political solution to the Middle East nation's grim and bloody yearlong crisis.

The position is one part of a six-point framework "for realizing a political solution" issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry early Sunday.

"It is deeply worrying that the situation in Syria remains grave," the statement said. "China follows closely the developments of the situation in Syria, firmly maintains that the current crisis should be resolved through political dialogue in a peaceful and appropriate manner, and has made unremitting efforts to this end."

China has not been in lockstep with the West and Arab nations on how to stop the deadly Syrian crackdown on protesters and the fighting. Government security forces and a range of opposition fighters, including the Free Syrian Army, are among those that have been battling.

China and Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution last month that called for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.

China has been opposed to pushing through a regime change and disagrees with the use and threat of sanctions against Syria. The United States, the European Union, Turkey and the Arab League have planned and initiated such sanctions.

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    Because of the veto, world powers formed an initiative to tackle the crisis through a group called the Friends of Syria, which met recently in Tunisia.

    Here are the other points in China's statement:

    -- China said it welcomes the appointment of a joint special envoy to the United Nations and the Arab League to pursue a political resolution. Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general, has been named to the post. China also backed Arab League and Arab world efforts to pursue a political solution.

    -- The Beijing government said an immediate and "inclusive political dialogue" should be launched among all the parties "with no preconditions attached or outcome predetermined." The joint special envoy to the United Nations and the Arab League should be "impartial" mediators and the sides should agree on a "detailed road map and timetable for reform."

    -- China expressed support for the United Nations' "leading role" in the coordination of relief efforts. It said the United Nations or another impartial entity should assess the humanitarian situation "under the precondition of respecting Syria's sovereignty." China said it opposes interference in Syrian internal affairs under a humanitarian pretext.

    -- The international community should respect Syria's "independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity" and "provide necessary and constructive assistance for the various political factions of Syria to launch dialogue, and respect the outcome of dialogue."

    "China does not approve of armed interference or pushing for 'regime change' in Syria, and believes that use or threat of sanctions does not help to resolve this issue appropriately," the statement said.

    -- The U.N. Security Council should "strictly abide by the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter and the basic norms governing international relations," it said.

    " As a permanent member of the Security Council, China is ready to earnestly fulfill its responsibilities, engage in equal-footed, patient and full consultation with other parties on the political solution to the Syrian crisis in an effort to safeguard the unity of the Security Council," the statement said.