China backs Annan's call for Iran role in Syria talks

By REUTERS
July 11, 2012 13:27

 
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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.


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