Thursday, February 23, 2012

Moscow, Beijing reject 'interference' in Syria

MOSCOW (AP) — Moscow and Beijing remain opposed to any foreign interference in Syria, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday as Russia worked to shore up international support for its position ahead of a major international conference.

Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict in Syria and condemning President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown on opponents. Thousands of people have been killed since an uprising began in March.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's office said he called his Chinese counterpart on Thursday and they "reaffirmed the joint position of Russia and China."

Both countries support "a speedy end to any violence in Syria and the launch of inclusive dialogue between the authorities and the opposition without preconditions for a peaceful settlement that excludes foreign interference in Syrian affairs," the ministry said.

Officials from the United States, Europe and Arab nations were meeting in London on Thursday to craft details of an ultimatum to Assad demanding that he agree to a cease-fire and allow humanitarian aid into areas hardest hit by the crackdown.

The ultimatum was to be presented at a major international conference Friday in Tunisia on the Syrian conflict. Read More