BEIRUT - China threw its weight behind
UN envoy Kofi Annan on Wednesday, backing his call to include
Iran in internationally-brokered talks to resolve Syria's
crisis, in the face of strong Western opposition.
"China believes that the appropriate resolution of the Syria
issue cannot be separated from the countries in the region,
especially the support and participation of those countries that
are influential on relevant sides in Syria," Foreign Ministry
spokesman Liu Weimin said in Beijing.
UN Security Council veto-holders China and Russia have for
the past year blocked efforts by Washington and its European and
Gulf Arab allies to turn the screws on Syrian President Bashar Assad, fighting to defend his mostly Alawite ruling
establishment against an uprising dominated by Sunni Muslims.
Assad's opponents say just under 13,000 armed and unarmed
opponents of Assad, and around 4,300 members of security forces
loyal to Damascus, have been killed since he launched a
crackdown 16 months ago, using tanks and helicopter gunships to
attack rebel strongholds inside Syria's biggest cities.