|China supports extension of UNSMIS: UN envoy|
UNITED NATIONS, July 16 (Xinhua) -- China supports extension of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) in order to coordinate the mediation efforts by UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan and safeguard the direction of political solution to the Syria crisis, Li Baodong, Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, said here Monday.
Li made his statement when answering questions of reporters after the conclusion of UN Security Council consultations on UNSMIS.
"There are two draft resolutions on the table. One is from Russia, the other from Britain. Members of the Security Council is now on consultations of it," he said.
The 15-member council must decide the future of the UNSMIS by July 20, when its initial 90-day mandate expires.
"China supports extension of UNSMIS, which could help coordinate Annan's mediation efforts and make sure that political solution to the Syrian crisis is on track," Li noted. "The Russian version of draft shares the same position with China on the above point of view."
Li also stressed that China has "great difficulties" in agreeing with the quotation in the British version of some parts of Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Chapter VII of the UN Charter gives the council right to employ economic and diplomatic sanctions and, if necessary, the use of armed force to give effect to its decisions.
"China hopes the council could achieve agreement on draft resolution, remain united and continue to work hard towards this objective," Li said.
The Security Council approved in April the deployment of 300 unarmed military observers to oversee the cease of all violence in Syria and monitor the implementation of Annan's six-point plan.
The mission has suspended most of its activities owing to an intensification of armed violence across the country since June 16.
"The urgent priority concerning Syria is for the international community to further support Annan's mediation efforts, effectively implement his six-point plan, relevant Security Council resolutions and communique released by the Action Group foreign ministers meeting in Geneva so as to alleviate tension in the country and push forward political solution to the Syrian problem," the Chinese ambassador said.
"The political process in Syria should be led by the Syrians and relevant plans need to be discussed and developed by all parties in Syria," he said.
The council is divided on the question of extension of UNSMIS' mandate. The draft resolution proposed by Western nations including Britain and France contains threat of sanctions against Syria by quoting Chapter VII of the UN Charter, while the Russian draft resolution proposed extending UNSMIS' mandate for another three months, reducing the number of military observers and asking the operation to take on a more political mission without threat of sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday ahead of Annan's second visit to Moscow that Russia strongly opposes linking UNSMIS' mandate extension with military operations against Syria. He even said the Western-proposed draft resolution contains "elements of blackmail."