AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
BEIJING: China welcomed the naming of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new international envoy for the conflict in Syria, vowing support and cooperation for his mission after he replaced Kofi Annan.
"China will support and cooperate positively with Mr Brahimi's efforts at political mediation," the foreign ministry said in a statement, released on Saturday.
Beijing differs with the West on how to handle the conflict in Syria, and along with Moscow has vetoed Security Council resolutions on the issue, putting it at odds with Washington and London.
China is generally suspicious of intervention in the internal affairs of other nations. State media this week accused Western powers of hampering international efforts to end the Syrian conflict.
Saturday's statement described Brahimi, an Algerian, as a man with "rich diplomatic experience and the right person to take the position".
It said it hoped he "could stick to the direction of solving Syrian issues politically" and seek "a peaceful, fair and proper settlement", as well as a ceasefire among all parties to end the violence "as soon as possible".
The United Nations named Brahimi to the sensitive post on Friday, with efforts to end the fighting in the Middle Eastern country unsuccessful so far, partly due to the differences among UN Security Council permanent members.
Beijing has repeatedly called for political dialogue and efforts by the UN to resolve the crisis.
China also said in the statement that it hoped Brahimi would push for the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions and Annan's six-point peace plan.
Annan, a former UN secretary-general, resigned this month from the Syrian mission in the face of continued violence and the deadlock among world powers over how to address the crisis.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged a visiting Syrian envoy to implement a ceasefire and accept international mediation to end the violence.
Yang also told told Bouthaina Shaaban, the envoy, that China hopes the Syrian government and opposition can cooperate with international mediation efforts, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Beijing has said it would be open to meeting with Syria's opposition as well, though has strong suspicions about the motives of other countries.
The People's Daily, mouthpiece of the governing Communist party, said in a commentary Wednesday that some countries in the West "have never given up the goal of 'regime change' in Syria" and have strengthened their support for forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
That stance had "undermined the unity within the UN Security Council and prevented the international community from reaching a consensus and Annan's mediation efforts from taking effect," it said.