China state news agency: There's still hope for Syria peace

By REUTERS
February 19, 2012 09:37

 
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BEIJING - There is still hope that the Syrian crisis can be resolved peacefully through talks, as any armed intervention will only spread turmoil through the region, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday after a Chinese envoy visited Syria.

China and Russia infuriated Western and Arab states this month by blocking a draft UN Security Council resolution that backed an Arab plan urging Syrian President Bashar Assad to quit amid his government's violent crackdown on opposition protests.

Stung by the criticism, China has since sent envoys to the region to seek a diplomatic solution, including Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who met Assad in Damascus on Saturday and backed his plans for a referendum and multi-party elections.

"China believes, as many others do, there is still hope the Syria crisis can be resolved through peaceful dialogue between the opposition and the government, contrary to some Western countries' argument that time is running out for talks in Syria," Xinhua said in an English-language commentary.

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