UN chief in China for talks on Syria draft vote
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Wednesday in Beijing Chinese President Hu Jintao before a Security Council vote on a draft resolution tabled by the Americans and Europeans threatening sanctions against the Syrian regime. The draft presented by Europeans (France, Germany, UK, Portugal) and the U.S. includes threats of economic sanctions if Damascus does not stop its use of heavy weapons against the opposition, while extending for 45 days the mission of UN observers in Syria (Misnus).
Russia has made it clear it would veto this resolution and several diplomats expect China to do the same. Both countries had twice blocked Security Council resolutions, to protect their Syrian ally, since the conflict began in March 2011.
"I sincerely hope that members of the Security Council will be able to work with a heightened sense of urgency and make a collective decision, with a sense of unity," Ban said in China. "We can not continue like this. So many people lost their lives over a long period".
Despite this statement, a commentary published Tuesday in a Chinese newspaper which reflects the stances of the regime rejected any use of force in Syria, a sign that China may again oppose any Western move to that effect. "A political solution is the only way to overcome the Syrian crisis," it read.