China urges for Syria reforms
DAMASCUS / TRIPOLI - Agence France-Presse
A supporter of Syrian president al-Assad chants slogans in Amman. AP PhotoSyrian President Bashar al-Assad plans to create a new constitution, a top ruling party official said yesterday, as China joined long-time ally Russia in pressing for prompt reforms in a country riven by a deadly crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
The death toll, already topping 2,900, according to U.N. calculations, rose further yesterday, with a young man shot dead in the central city of Homs and another man dying of wounds sustained there a day earlier, activists said.
Mohammed Said Bkheitan, a senior official in the ruling Baath party, said Assad will “decide within two days the creation of a committee to prepare a new constitution.” The committee will complete its work by year end, with the new document requiring a two-thirds approval of the Assad-dominated parliament and then being submitted to a referendum, Bkheitan was quoted by the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper as saying.
In Beijing, China urged Syria yesterday to move faster to implement reforms, a week after Beijing infuriated the West by blocking a proposed UN Security Council resolution against Assad’s deadly crackdown. Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council meanwhile said on Oct. 10 that it recognizes the Syrian National Council grouping of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad as the country’s government