China, Egypt back Annan, call for end to Syria violence

China, Egypt back Annan, call for end to Syria violence

The Chinese and Egyptian foreign ministers called for political negotiations and an end to the conflict in Syria on Wednesday, backing mediation by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, dpa reported.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Amr agreed that the international community should continue to push for a political resolution, the Chinese ministry said.

"On Syria, the two sides believe that all parties in Syria should immediately halt the violent conflict, open political dialogue and alleviate the humanitarian situation," it said.

"The international community should respect the Syrian people's own choice, continue to seek a political resolution, (and) encourage the mediation efforts of UN-Arab League envoy Annan," it said.

It said China and Egypt also sought to "maintain the peace and stability of Syria and the Middle East, and promote the fair, peaceful and proper resolution of the Syrian issue at an early date."

The UN Security Council planned to continue discussions Wednesday on a draft statement that would support and strengthen Annan's mission in Syria.

Annan, the joint special envoy for the United Nations and Arab League, had called for Security Council support for his diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Syria, where by UN estimates more than 8,000 people have died since March 2011.

Council members held closed talks Tuesday on the draft but did not reach an agreement.

The council is divided about how to end the killing in Syria, with Russia and China having vetoed two resolutions condemning the government of President Bashir al-Assad's severe human rights violations.

The other permanent members - the United States, Britain and France - along with Portugal and Germany supported such a condemnation.

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