Syrian President Bashar Assad with his army generals 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday pressed Syria to move faster to honor
promises of reform, nearly a week after it rejected a Western-backed UN draft
resolution condemning the bloody crackdown by Syrian authorities.
Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China opposes violence and does not “want to
see more bloodshed, conflict and casualties.”
“We believe the Syrian
government should more rapidly implement their promises of reform, begin and
advance as soon as possible a process that is more lenient and inclusive to all
parties... and through dialogue appropriately resolve issues,” he
Liu’s remarks echo statements made by Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev last week that Syria’s leaders should step down if they cannot enact
Both Russia and China drew criticism from the West after they
joined forces last week to veto a Europeandrafted UN Security Council resolution
condemning Syria for its violent treatment of protesters.
China’s decision on Tuesday, saying the draft resolution “threatened sanctions,”
which, he added, “is not beneficial to Syria’s stability.”
generally avoids taking a role in the domestic affairs of other nations, has
decried foreign pressure on Syria following calls from the UN and Europe for
Bashar Assad to step down, saying the country’s future should be decided
China has on several occasions called on other countries not
to get involved, and has kept a relatively low profile in the global response to
the tumult sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Analysts have said
that China will carefully foster ties and trade with new governments across the
region, presenting itself as a steadfast friend, and oil customer, of
governments that ride out the unrest.
Earlier this week, the most senior
Sunni cleric in Syria warned the United States and Europe that his country would
unleash suicide bomb attacks in their countries if they launched military
strikes against it.
Mufti Ahmad Hassoun, whose son was shot dead by
gunmen in the northern province of Idlib a week ago, made the comments to a
visiting Lebanese delegation late on Sunday.
“I say to the whole of
Europe, I say to America: We will prepare our suicide bombers who are already
with you if you bombard Syria or Lebanon,” Hassoun said in remarks broadcast by
Al Jazeera television.
“From today an eye for an eye and a tooth for a
The United States and the European Union have condemned Assad’s
crackdown on six months of street protests, imposing sanctions on Syrian oil
exports and some businesses, and pushing the United Nations to pressure
But no country has suggested military intervention in Syria
along the lines of the NATO action which helped Libyan rebels topple Muammar
The assassination of the mufti’s son was the first attack on
Syria’s state-backed clergy, who have supported Assad despite widespread Sunni
resentment at decades of dominance by Assad’s minority Alawite sect.