China repeats call for Syrian parties to negotiate

AP News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2012 3:41 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China has reiterated a call for all sides in the Syrian conflict to negotiate, sidestepping the issue of whether Beijing recognizes the newly united opposition coalition in the Middle Eastern country.

Syrian anti-government groups struck a deal Sunday in Doha, Qatar, to form a new coalition and elected Islamic preacher Maath al-Khatib president.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei didn't directly respond Monday to a question that asked whether China recognizes the new grouping and president.

He told a daily briefing that China is always of the opinion that all sides in Syria should stop fighting immediately, support mediation efforts and start a political transition "led by the Syrian people as soon as possible."

He said: "We hope the moves by the relevant sides will help achieve these goals."