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English>>Foreign Affairs

China welcomes Russia-U.S. agreement on Syria ceasefire plan

(Xinhua)    19:40, February 23, 2016

BEIJING, Feb. 23 -- China on Tuesday welcomed a plan for a cessation of hostilities in Syria that the United States and Russia announced on Monday.

The U.S. and Russia said in a joint statement that any party engaged in conflict in Syria will indicate to Russia or the U.S. their commitment to the ceasefire by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on Saturday.

"The agreement indicates a willingness to convert consensus into action," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

The cessation of hostilities can be traced back to a Feb. 12 meeting in Munich, Germany, of the International Syrian Support Group (ISSG), which comprises the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations, and 17 countries including China.

Hua said a ceasefire and an end to violence is an important part of the political process in Syria, adding that it can help to maintain progress and peace talks.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreement. "It is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to their suffering," he said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday called the ceasefire agreement "a real step" toward ending five years of bloodshed in Syria, Moscow and Washington will establish a hotline and, if necessary, a working group to exchange information after the cessation of hostilities has gone into effect, he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama, in a telephone call with Putin on Monday, emphasized that the priority now was to ensure positive responses by the Syrian government and armed opposition as well as faithful implementation by all parties, the White House said.

China hopes the ISSG will urge relevant parties to fully implement the concrete arrangement and create beneficial external conditions for the resumption of new Geneva talks on Feb. 25.

A political settlement is the only solution to the Syrian issue, Hua said.

China also hoped relevant parties can implement the UN Security Council 2254 Resolution and the joint communique of the fourth foreign ministers' meeting of the ISSG in Munich to maintain dialogue and negotiation momentum.

The announcement of the ceasefire agreement came a day after five deadly bombings killed at least 150 people in central and southern Syria, marking one of the highest death tolls in a single day during the conflict.

China strongly condemned the terrorist bombings and terrorism in any form, Hua said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Bianji)

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