Last updated: 13 August, 2012

China says top Syria aide to visit for talks

China said Monday that a top aide to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will visit this week for talks with Chinese leaders, as violence rages in the country.

Bouthaina Shaaban, a “special adviser” to the Syrian president, will visit from Tuesday for talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and other officials, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

China was also considering inviting members of the Syrian opposition to visit soon, it said, but gave no details.

The statement repeated China’s calls for an immediate ceasefire and political dialogue to resolve the Syria crisis.

Beijing earlier this month expressed regret over former UN chief Kofi Annan’s resignation as international envoy for Syria and said it would continue to “work for a political resolution” to the conflict.

China, which along with Moscow has vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, has said it wanted the United Nations to play an important role in trying to solve the deadly conflict.

China’s unwillingness to back further action in Syria may stem from its discomfort with Western military intervention, analysts say.