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China supports peace process in Syria

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-13 19:59

BEIJING - Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Friday that China supports a political and diplomatic resolution of the Syrian chemical weapon issue in order to give peace a chance.

Hong made the remarks when asked to comment on a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Russia's proposal of putting Syria's chemical weapons under international control, which kicked off on Thursday in Geneva.

Syria on Thursday formally applied to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), vowing to immediately fully abide with the treaty.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Syria would provide an accounting of chemical weapons stocks in 30 days, standard practice under the treaty.

China hopes all parties seize the opportunity to resolve the Syrian chemical weapon issue through political and diplomatic means, so as to jointly safeguard peace and stability in Syria and the region, Hong told a regular press briefing.

"It is in line with the common interests of the international community, " he added.

Syria's opposition has denounced the Russian initiative. The Syrian National Coalition opposition group said the plan is a "political manoeuvre aimed at buying time" for Assad and would be a "green light" to other regimes to use chemical weapons.

When asked whether China supports the International Criminal Court to investigate on the Syrian chemical weapon issue, Hong said it is imperative for all parties concerned to cease fire and stop the violence and promote a political settlement of the issue.

He urged parties concerned to convene a second international meeting on Syria in Geneva as soon as possible, adding that only when Syria realizes complete reconciliation, safety and stability will Syrian people be fully safe.

He said the crux of the Syrian issue is to implement the principles of the OPCW and adhere to political resolution.

"The two tracks should go in parallel," said Hong.

On Thursday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun met with a six-member delegation of the opposition Syrian National Dialogue Forum.

During the meeting, Zhai said China respects the will and choice of the Syrian people and opposes the using of chemical weapons as well as external military intervention in Syria.

He said China supports the Russian initiative, which calls for Damascus to join the OPCW, declare the locations of its chemical arms, allow OPCW inspectors access and finally arrange for destruction of the arsenal.

Zhai reaffirmed that the political resolution is the only realistic way out for the Syrian issue.

He called on the Syrian group to use its advantages to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups, support the second international meeting and promote inclusive political dialogue in Syria.

Syrian National Dialogue Forum applauded China's objective position and its constructive role in resolving the Syrian issue, noting that it will continue to oppose external military intervention and promote national dialogue in Syria.

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