Last updated: 16 April, 2012

Syrian FM to visit China for peace plan talks

Syria’s foreign minister will arrive in Beijing on Monday to brief Chinese officials about a United Nations-brokered ceasefire for the conflict-torn country, China’s state Xinhua news agency said.

The report from Damascus, which quoted a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman, said Walid Muallem would visit China for two days.

China has backed the efforts of UN envoy Kofi Annan to bring peace to Syria, after he visited Beijing last month.

Beijing, an ally of Damascus, previously drew international criticism for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions on the Syria crisis which were critical of President Bashar al-Assad.

The report did not say who Muallem would meet. China’s foreign ministry has not announced the visit.

The Syrian minister last week visited Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the Annan peace plan.

China said last week it backed UN efforts to mediate in the Syrian crisis.

“We are ready to work together with all parties to push all parties in Syria to stop violence, ease tensions and promote political dialogue,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a news briefing on Friday.

The first UN observers arrived in Syria on Sunday to monitor a ceasefire between government troops and rebels, part of the Annan plan.