10/31/2012, 00.00
CHINA - SYRIA
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For Brahimi, China can play a positive role in the Syrian crisis

UN envoy ends a two-day visit to Beijing after a stop in Moscow in search of support for a proposal he plans to submit to the Security Council next month. Saudi cleric calls on foreign fighters not to join Syrian rebels.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - "China can play an active role in solving the events in Syria," said UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who spoke after meeting today in Beijing with China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi (pictured).

Brahimi, who succeeded former UN chief Kofi Annan, arrived in Beijing two days ago after a visit to Moscow.

His meetings in China and Russia, which vetoed the UN Security Council resolutions aimed at putting more pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, appear to be an attempt to improve the chances of the proposal he is expected to present to the UN Security Council next month.

Yang said he hoped their discussions, their third in two months, would promote "mutual understanding".

Beijing has always opposed intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, Yang reaffirmed this stance, saying that any political transition must be led by the people of Syria and not imposed by outside forces.

In August, Yang also met the Syrian president's envoy, followed in September by a meeting with an opposition delegation.

Sources in Beijing said that the foreign minister warned the opposition about outside forces directing any political transition, while he told the president's envoy that both sides in the conflict should work with international mediation efforts.

As fighting continues in Syria, a senior Saudi cleric warned Muslim fighters against going to Syria to assist rebels because this could "only complicate the crisis and repeat the Afghanistan problem".

Writing on his website, Salman Al Awdah said that the arrival of fighters from Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt would lend credence to the regime's claim it is fighting against "terrorists".

"Leave Syria to Syrians as they do not lack courage or numbers [. . .] they do not need more fighters but funds and weapons," he wrote.

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