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China, Russia FMs meet ahead of Syria talks
January 22, 2014, 5:30 am

Beijing and Moscow on Tuesday vowed to continue their close communication on Syria [Xinhua]

Beijing and Moscow on Tuesday vowed to continue their close communication on Syria [Xinhua]

In the lead-up to the Syrian peace talks, China and Russia have held high-level talks to coordinate their position on how to break the deadlock.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Montreux on late Tuesday night that Beijing prioritizes setting up a “follow-up mechanism” for the dialogue and political efforts to continue even after the Geneva II conference.

China said it would press for a ceasefire at the global meet where the Syrian opposition and the government are to meet for the first time.

The peace talks will begin on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux and continue in Geneva two days later to seek the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria to lead the country out of a protracted conflict that broke out in March 2011.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reiterated that Russia and China are united in their backing for a political solution to the Syria conflict. Beijing and Moscow on Tuesday vowed to continue their close communication on Syria.

He also said that “the situation in Syria was very complicated, and the only way out of the crisis was to nudge the Syrian government and the opposition to come to the negotiating table, and reach some consensus on their country’s future”.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama had a “businesslike and constructive” conversation on the issue by phone on Tuesday, said a Kremlin statement.

Iran, meanwhile, was invited and un-invited by the UN for the Syria talks within a span of 24 hours.

The Syrian regime and the opposition are bitterly divided over the issue of the future of the current President Bashar al-Assad.

Shortly before the arrival of the Syrian delegation in Montreux on Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the presidency and the government are “red lines for us and for the Syrian people”.

“Nobody can touch the presidency,” Muallem was quoted by the official Sana news agency.

On the other hand a Reuters report quoted Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the Syrian National Coalition, as saying, “We will not accept less than the removal of the criminal Bashar al-Assad”.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the violence broke out.

TBP and Agencies