China calls for investigation into Syria massacre
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Members of the United Nations observers mission in Syria from China leave a hotel in Damascus, and head to the areas where protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been taking place, May 15, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled al-HaririChina today condemned a massacre of more than 100 people in the central Syrian town of Houla and called for an immediate investigation to identify those responsible.
Beijing's comments came as UN-Arab envoy Kofi Annan headed to Damascus in a bid to salvage his battered peace plan a day after the United Nations condemned the Syrian regime's use of artillery in Houla.
"China is deeply shocked and strongly condemns the incident," said foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, after Russia questioned whether Damascus was behind the violence.
"China... calls for an immediate investigation into this issue and to find the perpetrators. This incident again shows that Syria should waste no time to implement the ceasefire and end the violence," he added.
Beijing and Moscow -- both long-standing allies of Damascus -- drew international criticism earlier this year for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
They have since backed Annan's efforts to bring peace to Syria. But the peace envoy's six-point blueprint, which was supposed to begin with a ceasefire from April 12, has been broken daily.
"We urge relevant parties in Syria to immediately and comprehensively uphold relevant Security Council resolutions and Annan's six-point proposal, stop all violence, properly protect innocent civilians, ease tensions there and push forward the political resolution of the Syrian issue," said Liu.