Wen gives massive boost to Annan's Syria
Updated: 2012-03-28 03:37
By Li Lianxing (China Daily)
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Premier Wen Jiabao welcomes Kofi Anna, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. [Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]
Premier backs calls for positive response to UN envoy's mediation
The Syrian government and parties involved should respond positively to mediation by Kofi Annan, the United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, and Beijing will strengthen its efforts to solve the crisis, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Tuesday.
Wen made the remarks during a meeting with the envoy in Beijing. Annan, who had just visited Moscow, secured Russia's backing for his six-point plan.
Wen reiterated that the safety of the Syrian people and halting the violence was the priority as this would allow the opportunity for dialogue and a peaceful resolution. Wen also said that Annan's mediation will lead to a fair and peaceful resolution of the crisis.
"I cannot do this job alone, I need help, I need support and I need support and advice from countries like yours and that's why I am here," Annan told Wen at the beginning of the talks.
Annan acknowledged China's stance on the crisis and said he would continue closely cooperating with the international community to move the whole process forward. China and Russia vetoed UN Security Council resolutions which, following events in Libya, they feared might open the way for foreign intervention and regime change in Syria. However, the council did agree to fully support Annan's six-point plan for ending the violence. This includes a call for a daily two-hour cease-fire, troop withdrawals and talks between the regime and opposition.
Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, said that this is a critical juncture and the council fully backing Annan's efforts is a recognition of the urgency.
"Hope has been reignited after the international community was divided," he said. But he pointed out that any breakthrough would face an almost immediate challenge in April by the "Friends of Syria" conference in Turkey, which essentially supports opponents of the Syrian regime, he said.
This visit will provide a number of opportunities for enhanced understanding, especially for Annan to appreciate China's concerns, he said.
"China should continue supporting Annan's work" while making its own point of view clear, he said.
"More Chinese envoys and delegations should be sent ... to conduct further mediation." According to Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for Annan, the Syrian government on Tuesday accepted the six-point plan endorsed by the council.
This visit will consolidate the sense of moving forward and will lay a solid foundation for future mediation, Zhao Xiaoan, vice-president of the UN Association of China, said. "The difficulty at this stage is to materialize all the proposals into action," she said. Foreign countries had a negative impact on the crisis, she said.
The opposition hoped for foreign intervention and they still have chance to overthrow the regime, she added. Any prospect of foreign intervention must be ruled out and countries must not send conflicting signals, she said.
The US and Turkey agreed on Sunday to directly provide opposition groups inside Syria with "non-lethal" aid, including communication equipment and medical supplies, and urged others to follow suit.
"Annan is the right choice for the UN to conduct this mediation as he is highly experienced in international conflict resolution and knows how to seek common ground among different interest groups," she said.
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