BEIJING, May 27 (RIA Novosti) – China plans to take part in the upcoming international conference on Syria proposed earlier by Russia and the United States, Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday.
He said Beijing was “ready to cooperate with other parties in promoting the soonest resolution of the Syrian issue in a just and peaceful way,” adding that “China supports all efforts to reach a political settlement of the Syrian crisis.”
Together with Russia, China is widely regarded as an ally of Syria, and along with Russia has vetoed three Western-backed Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the use of force.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced after a Moscow meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on May 7 that the two countries had decided to hold an international conference aimed at facilitating a solution through political dialogue to the Syrian crisis, in which more than 80,000 people have died since fighting broke out between government forces and rebels in March 2011.
The conference is designed to be a follow-up to last summer’s international meeting in Geneva that drafted a peace roadmap for Syria. Moscow wants to involve all the nations that took part in the Geneva conference.
According to diplomatic sources, the conference may take place in mid-June, but both Moscow and Washington have so far avoided giving exact dates.
The Syrian government has already confirmed its readiness to take part in the conference. Certain Syrian opposition groups have also said they are ready to send their representatives, while others insist on Assad’s resignation as a precondition for the talks.