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China - Feb 19, 2012 - 10:37

Last modified: 19 Feb 2012 07:37

Following a meeting between Zhai Jun, China's vice foreign minister and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a statement posted on the Chinese foreign ministry's website quoted Zhai as saying that China was willing to work with the Syrian government and opposition, the Arab League and Arab countries to find a solution.

"China supports all the mediation efforts by the Arab League to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis and calls upon relevant parties to increase communication and negotiations to find a peaceful and appropriate solution to the Syrian crisis within the framework of the Arab League and on the basis of the Arab League's relevant political solution proposals," the statement said.

Zhai called on all parties to stop violence that activists say has killed more than 7,000 people.

"The position of China is to call on the government, the opposition and the rebels to halt acts of violence immediately," Zhai said, adding that it was vital that "calm be restored as quickly as possibly as that serves the interests of the Syrian people".

"We hope that the referendum on a new constitution as well as the forthcoming parliamentary elections pass off calmly," Zhai was quoted by Syrian TV as saying.

A ruling party newspaper said on Saturday in an editorial that China courageously defied the West when it opposed a nonbinding resolution in the UN General Assembly condemning human rights violations in Syria.

"It is wrong to blindly come down on the side of the West in each vote," it said.

The seemingly contradictory stances on the Arab League's proposals appear to reflect Beijing's desire for mediation but aversion to UN involvement.  [AP] 

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