02/18/2012, 00.00
SYRIA - CHINA
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Chinese envoy in Damascus to "strengthen cooperation"

Beijing remains opposed to a violent regime change or the intervention of an external military force and hopes for the expansion of the internal dialogue and reform. Yesterday 40 people were killed.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese Deputy- Foreign Minister, Zhai Jun, is in Damascus for a two-day visit. He arrived last night, meeting with his counterpart Faisal Meqdad specifying how "strengthening cooperation" with Syria, faced with a crisis after 11 months of insurgency, demanding President Bashar Assad step aside.

Zhai said that "the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected by all parties [in conflict] and the international community." "China - he added - hopes that national dialogue and reforms will go forward".

Before his departure fromBeijing Zhai recalled that his country does not share in calls for "armed intervention" or a "so-called regime change obtained by force."

Beijing's position is very similar to that of Russia. On 4 February, China and Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, which condemned the Assad regime and the violence of the army against the Syrian people.

Two days ago, Moscow and Beijing even voted against a resolution adopted by a large majority of the UN General Assembly because it contained no condemnation of the widespread violence of the armed opposition.

Next week a meeting between Western and Arab countries the "Friends of Syria" will take place in Tunis, to discuss possible aid to the Syrian resistance (possibly military support). The Arab League has long called for Assad to relinquish power and suggested a UN and Arab military force is needed to stop the violence of the regime.

Meanwhile, opposition activists claimed yesterday that security forces killed at least 40 people. But these reports are difficult to confirm because there are no independent sources in the country.

 

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