BEIJING: China on Thursday called for a phased-in cease-fire and negotiations on a gradual political transition to end the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.
A four-point proposal issued by the Foreign Ministry stopped short of calling for the ouster of President Bashar Assad and omitted mention of any measures to compel compliance. Alongside Russia, China has steadfastly blocked any outside intervention that could force Assad from power, much to the consternation of the U.S. and other countries seeking a swift end to the 19-month-old conflict, which has killed more than 35,000 people.
The proposal called on the international community to support the work of the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and other mediation efforts. Assistance should be provided to refugees, but humanitarian work should not be politicized or militarized, it said.