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Bejing urges Syria to implement Arab League plan

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China pressed Syria yesterday to implement an Arab League peace plan to end eight months of bloodshed, after the 22-member bloc said it would suspend Damascus over its lethal crackdown on protests.
President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has so far failed to comply with the agreement, signed on November 2, to end its crackdown on protests, which the United Nations says has left at least 3,500 people dead since mid-March.
“What is pressing now is to implement the Arab League’s initiative appropriately and earnestly,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told journalists at a regular briefing in Beijing.
“China once again urges the Syrian government and all relevant parties to cease violence, launch an inclusive and balanced political process and make unremitting efforts to realise the Arab League’s initiative.”
On Saturday, the League voted in favour of suspending Syria. But a day later it said it would hold a fresh meeting this week, amid signs of cracks in the resolve of the 22-member bloc to suspend Damascus.
China, along with Russia, vetoed a Western-drafted resolution at the UN Security Council on October 4 that would have threatened Assad’s regime with targeted sanctions if it continued its campaign against protesters.
But days later, Beijing urged Damascus to speed up the implementation of reforms, veering away from its longstanding policy of non-interference in the country’s affairs.
Liu made his comments as diplomats said the European Union was preparing to slap further sanctions on Syria, targeting 18 people and freezing credits.

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