China backs Russian plan on Syria chemical weapons
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 22:20
  
Beijing: China on Tuesday backed a Russian proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control in a bid to avert a possible US military strike, even as a Syrian opposition delegation landed here today for talks.

A six-member delegation of the opposition Syrian National Dialogue Forum started its visit to China today at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

During their stay, senior officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry will meet and "exchange views with them on the situation", Hong told a daily news briefing.

This is the second time China, a firm backer of the Assad regime, is hosting a delegation of the Syrian opposition.

"China has been engaged in mediation efforts with all parties involved in the Syrian issue in an active and balanced way, making unremitting endeavours to push for a political solution," Hong said.

China has always maintained that a political solution is the only realistic way out for the Syrian issue and it should be firmly adhered to, especially under the current situation, Hong said.

The spokesman also said China welcomed the Russian proposal to push Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and called on the international community to "actively consider" the suggestion.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Damascus to "place the chemical weapons under international control and then have them destroyed".

"As long as the proposals are conducive to easing the current tensions in Syria and achieving a political solution as well as peace and stability in Syria and the region, the international community should actively consider them," Hong said.

Lavrov spoke about the proposal yesterday, hoping such a move would help avert a possible US strike against the Arab country, which was welcomed by US President Barack Obama. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem welcomed the Russian proposition.

Obama said the Russian proposal is "potentially a positive development," and he would prefer to have a diplomatic solution to the crisis rather than launch a military attack.

"We are firmly opposed to resorting to force in international relations. Unilateral military action is against the purposes and principles in the UN Charter and will put the region in turmoil," Hong said, calling for the parties to think twice before using military tools.

On allegations that some chemicals and missiles in Syria came from Russia, Iran and China, Hong stressed China's signatory status to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

China strictly fufils the obligations in the treaty, including submitting all declarations to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and accepts inspections, Hong said.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 22:20


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