Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong said Thursday that Syria ceasefire is "an important step" toward a political solution to the Syrian issue, marking an important progress of the mediation efforts by Kofi Annan, joint UN-Arab League envoy for Syria.
Li made the remarks after a close-door briefing by Annan to the UN Security Council via video-link on Thursday morning.
China welcomes the announcement made by the Syrian government of an immediate ceasefire and troop withdrawal from some cities and towns, Li told reporters.
"We hope the Syrian government will honor its commitments in good faith, continue to take real actions to support and cooperate with Mr. Annan in his mediation, and safeguard the political process for the settlement of the Syrian issue," Li said.
In the meantime, China calls on the armed opposition factions to achieve immediate ceasefire and implement Mr. Annan's six-point peace plan, he added.
Li also said China fully supports the deployment of an advance observer mission in Syria. The ambassador noted that to ease the tense situation and promote a political settlement, China has been engaging, in its own way, with the Syrian government and all parties involved.
"We have maintained contacts with special envoy Annan and given full support to his mediation efforts," he said. "A few days ago, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi wrote a letter to his Syrian counterpart. The letter positively appraised the Syrian decision on ceasefire and military withdrawal, and expressed China's hope that Syria would earnestly fulfill its commitments, take practical actions to support and cooperate with Mr. Annan in his mediation efforts, and maintain the political settlement process."
In addition, leading officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry also met with Syrian ambassador in China, emphasizing that the top priority now is for Syria to implement Annan's six-point proposal, seize the hard-won opportunity and fulfill in a timely and comprehensive manner the commitments to military withdrawal and ceasefire, Li said.
The Chinese Embassy in Syria and the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations have on many occasions engaged with Syria to persuade it to honor its military withdrawal and ceasefire commitment, he said.
"We have also maintained communication with the opposition factions in Syria, calling for immediate ceasefire and implementation of Annan's proposal, " Li said. "China has also maintained contacts with regional countries, the Arab League, Russia and other parties concerned to push for political solution of the Syrian issue."
It is fair to say that the work that China has done is effective, Li stressed.
With regard to the next stage of the Syrian crisis, Li said China will continue to work with all parties to vigorously support Annan's mediation for a political settlement of the Syrian issue.
"We will maintain communication and coordination with all parties, and play a constructive role in bringing about an early, just, peaceful and proper settlement of the Syrian issue," he added.
In answering a reporter's question, Li said China gives full support to Annan's request of deploying a mission of observers as soon as possible and hopes the Council would hold discussions on that immediately.