China Calls on Syria to Honor Ceasefire Commitment

Posted on: April 09, 2012 at 21:06:55
China on Monday urged Syria to honor its ceasefire commitment, after Damascus said it wanted guarantees from armed rebels before it pulled back its troops from protest hubs.

The Syrian army was scheduled to withdraw from protest cities on Tuesday under a peace deal brokered by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, with a complete end to fighting set for 48 hours later.

But the Damascus regime has since said it would only carry out its side of the bargain if rebels first handed over written guarantees to stop fighting, a demand rejected by rebel army chief Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin called on both sides in the bloody, year-long conflict to honor their commitments, and said the international community should ''be patient'' and give Annan more time.

''China urges the Syrian government and parties concerned in Syria to seize the important opportunities, to honor their commitment of ceasefire and withdrawal of troops,'' said Liu at a regular briefing.

''We hope that the parties concerned will cooperate with the mediation efforts of special envoy Annan. Of course, the issue of Syria is very complicated and it takes time to mediate the issue.''

China gave its seal of approval to the Annan deal late last month after drawing international criticism for vetoing two U.N. Security Council resolutions on the crisis in Syria.

Annan's plan calls for a commitment to stop all armed violence, a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire and media access to all areas affected by the fighting in Syria, which has killed almost 10,000 people.

It also calls for an inclusive Syrian-led political process, a right to demonstrate, and the release of people detained arbitrarily.

The U.N. Security Council formally endorsed the deadline for a ceasefire on Thursday, but Damascus said a day later that the number of ''terrorist acts'' has risen since the deal was agreed with Annan, the U.N. and Arab League envoy.

France denounced the fresh Syrian demands as ''unacceptable'' and on Sunday Annan urged the government in Damascus to respect its commitments on troop withdrawals, calling a recent escalation in violence ''unacceptable.''

''This is a time when we must all urgently work towards a full cessation of hostilities, providing the space for humanitarian access and creating the conditions for a political process,'' Annan said in a statement.

Source:Agence France Presse
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