China said on Thursday that it welcomes the Syrian government's agreement to a comprehensive ceasefire and troop withdrawal from some cities.
"This will help ease the tense situation in Syria, and is an important step toward a political solution of the Syrian issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a press release.
Liu said the decision also marked important progress in the mediation efforts of UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan.
"We hope the Syrian government will fully implement its commitment, continue to support and coordinate with Annan's efforts with concrete actions, and maintain the process of a political solution for the issue," Liu said.
He also urged Syrian opposition armed groups to cease fire immediately and implement Annan's six-point plan.
This proposal set April 10 as the deadline for troop withdrawal and April 12 as the deadline for a complete ceasefire between the Syrian army and rebels.
According to Liu, China has been negotiating with the Syrian government and all relevant parties so as to ease the situation and promote a solution through political means.
"We are keeping up communication with special envoy Annan and fully support his mediation efforts," Liu said, adding Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also wrote to his Syrian counterpart, Walid Mualem, and hailed the decision to halt military actions and withdraw troops.
According to the press release, the Chinese side's efforts to help resolve the crisis have included arranging for Chinese Foreign Ministry officials to meet Syria's ambassador to China, and negotiation between Chinese diplomats to Syria and the United Nations with the Syrian side.
It said China has maintained communication with the opposition and urged them to halt fire immediately and implement Annan's suggestions. China has also communicated with relevant sides including regional countries, the Arab League and Russia to promote a political solution. "Efforts made by China have been effective," Liu said.
He vowed that China is ready to join hands with all parties to continue to actively support Annan's work, maintain communication and coordination, and play a constructive role for an early solution of the Syrian issue in a fair, peaceful and proper way.