BEIJING — China Monday welcomed a Russian and Arab League joint plan for ending the deadly violence in Syria as “positive”, and renewed its call for a “political settlement” to the conflict.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Arab counterparts on Saturday issued a five-point statement after holding talks in Cairo, calling for “unhindered humanitarian access” in Syria as well as an end to the violence.
They also agreed on setting up a mechanism for “objective monitoring” in the country and agreed on no foreign intervention, according to a statement read out by Lavrov and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani.
“We believe that the five-point plan reached between Russia and the Arab League is of relevant and positive significance to the political resolution of the Syrian issue,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters.
“We hope the international community will continue to make positive efforts for the fair, peaceful and proper solution of the Syrian issue.”
Earlier this month China unveiled its own six-point plan, calling for an immediate end to the conflict and for dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the opposition.
Beijing’s proposal also rejected foreign interference or “external action for regime change” in Syria but supported the role of the UN Security Council “in strict accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN charter.”
The West and the Arab world have been piling pressure on Assad’s regime to prevent a year-old uprising from spiralling into all-out civil war.
Beijing and Moscow have drawn heavy criticism for using their veto powers as permanent members of the UN Security Council to block resolutions condemning the crackdown, because they singled out Assad for blame.
Meanwhile, ex-diplomats and Nobel laureates urged the UN Security Council Monday to stop the violence in Syria, warning “paralyzing” splits in the international community had given the regime a license to kill.
In a letter published in the Financial Times and to be published in Le Figaro in France Tuesday, they called on Russia in particular to help stop President Bashar al-Assad’s bloody crackdown on protests.
“Splits among the international community have provided the Assad government with a licence to kill. This licence must be withdrawn,” the letter said.
It said the crackdown was “among the worst cases of deliberate violence against a civilian population that we have seen in recent years”.
“While we understand that there is no easy way out of this crisis, the moral obligation to bridge the current impasse lies with the members of the Security Council,” the letter continued.
“Let there be no mistake, the credibility and international standing of any nation standing idle in the face of the avoidable tragedy unfolding in Syria will be severely damaged.”
The FT letter said Russia should “join collective efforts to bring a swift end to the conflict”, and called on unanimous support for UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan to help him “overcome the present paralyising divide”. — Agencies