Annan and Syria need time

Updated: 2012-03-28 08:04

(China Daily)

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Premier Wen Jiabao met Kofi Annan, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, in Beijing on Tuesday, and pledged China's full support to Annan's six-point plan to end the bloodshed in the Middle East country.

Wen said the Syria issue has now entered a critical stage and Annan's mediation efforts "will lead to progress". These remarks bear emblem to China's consistent efforts to promote peace.

One day earlier, in his meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, President Hu Jintao emphasized that China takes a responsible approach toward peace in Syria.

Annan is paying whirlwind visits to countries including Russia and China to rally more support for his plan, which calls for President Bashar al-Assad's government to pull troops and heavy weapons out of population centers, and for all parties to stop fighting for two hours every day, so humanitarian aid can be delivered, treatment given the wounded, and talks take place between the government and opposition.

Russia has already given the plan its endorsement and Annan's plan is widely seen as the last chance to avoid a protracted and bloody civil war in Syria. But it will take time for the two sides in Syria to resolve their differences and it is important to push forward international mediation until it yields results.

China, along with Russia, has believed from the very start that condemning the Syrian government or simply forcing Assad to step down does not conform to the spirit of the UN Charter and would trigger even more serious domestic turmoil.

It is good to see that greater consensus has been reached among the international community in the past week on the desirability of pursuing a diplomatic solution.

China and Russia have repeatedly voiced concerns about Western countries calling for a forced regime change or even military intervention in the conflict-torn country.

The Western powers have finally come to terms with the reality that their aggressive approach toward the Syrian crisis will never win broad international support.

To pave the way for peace in Syria, the international community should continue to build on the good momentum that is developing. It is hoped the Arab League summit, which opens on Wednesday in Baghdad, will also send out positive signals and add to the growing momentum for a peaceful solution.

(China Daily 03/28/2012 page8)