September 17, 2012 / 11:16 AM / 7 years ago

China says solution to Syria crisis must be led by its people

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a representative of a Syrian opposition group on Monday that the political solution to the crisis in Syria must be led by its people, and repeated Beijing’s rejection of external intervention.

China has been keen to show it does not take sides in Syria and has urged the government there to talk to the opposition and take steps to meet demands for political change. It has also said a transitional government should be formed.

Yang told Hasan Abdul-Azim, the general coordinator of Syria’s National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, that “the current situation in Syria is getting more severe, but the use of force will not solve the problem and the correct direction of a political solution cannot be shaken”, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

“The aspirations and choice of the Syrian people should be fully respected, the political transition process must be led by the Syrian people and cannot be imposed from outside,” Yang was quoted as telling Abdul-Azim.

Yang called on all parties in Syria to cooperate with the mediation efforts of international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and reiterated Beijing’s stance rejecting all forms of violence, according to the foreign ministry.

Abdul-Azim told Yang of his group’s proposal for a ceasefire, which include the release of prisoners, the granting of humanitarian access and a “four-point proposal” for the start of a political transition, the foreign ministry said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s envoy, Bouthaina Shaaban, visited in August when China repeated a call for talks between the Syrian government and opposition.

Both China and Russia have vetoed proposed U.N. Security Council resolutions intended to put pressure on Assad. China has repeatedly said it opposes forceful foreign intervention and called for a political solution in Syria.

Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Aileen Wang; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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