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UN’s Ban calls on China to use ‘influence’ in Syria dispute

AFP: UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Saturday appealed to China’s foreign minister to use his “influence” to help bring pressure on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to end conflict, a UN spokesman said.

China is a key player in a UN Security Council dispute over sanctions against the Syrian leader. It has backed Russia in rejecting western demands for international action to press Assad.

Ban and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi discussed Syria in telephone talks ahead of the UN secretary general’s visit to China on Monday, said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The UN leader “called on China to use its influence to ensure the full and immediate implementation” of the peace plan of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and an international communique which China agreed on June 30 calling for a political transition in Syria, said the spokesman.

They discussed “the imperative need for the violence to stop at once” and the massacre in the village of Triemsa on Thursday in which at least 150 people died.

Ban highlighted that the fighting involved “the use of heavy weapons in violation of the Syrian government’s obligations” under Security Council resolutions on Syria passed in April.

The Security Council has to pass a resolution by July 20 to renew the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). Britain, the United States, France, Germany and Portugal want sanctions added to the resolution if Assad does not pull back his heavy weapons in line with Annan’s peace plan.

Russia, Assad’s key ally, rejects the threat of sanctions.

Russia and China have twice used their powers as permanent members of the Security Council to veto resolutions which just hinted at sanctions.

Published Date: Sunday, July 15th, 2012 | 02:28 AM

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