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UN chief appreciates Russian, Chinese initiatives on Syria

(Xinhua)

14:24, March 13, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, March 12 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday voiced his appreciation of the recent initiatives by Russia and China to seek a political solution to the Syria issue.

The secretary-general made the statement while addressing an open-door meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.

"I appreciate the recent initiatives by the Russian Federation and by China, including their engagement with Syria and with the League of Arab States," Ban said.

"At this critical juncture, it will be essential for the Council to speak with one voice, and I hope the Council can find its way towards a consensus resolution that sends a signal of strong resolve," he said.

The Security Council meeting came after the UN and Arab League joint special envoy for Syria, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to mediate an early end to the almost year-long crisis in Syria.

"Annan held frank and comprehensive discussions with President Assad, and put concrete proposals to the president," Ban told the Security Council.

"He urged President Assad to take immediate steps to bring an end to violence and abuses, address the humanitarian crisis, and embark with Mr. Annan's facilitation on a peaceful, inclusive, Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate and democratic aspirations of the Syrian people," he said.

"I add my voice to that of Mr. Annan in urging President Assad to act swiftly, within the next few days, in response to the proposals put forward by the joint special envoy," Ban said.

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