China urges Syrian parties to be pragmatic

Beijing, Jan 29 (IANS) China Tuesday urged the Syrian government and the opposition to be pragmatic in finding a solution to the ongoing crisis in the war-torn country.

"We urge the Syrian government and the opposition to take a pragmatic attitude and positively seek a solution acceptable for all sides concerned to start political dialogue and transition at an early date," Xinhua quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying at a news briefing.

Hong's remarks came after leaders of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces and Friends of Syria, the coalition's main backers, held a meeting in Paris Monday to discuss a swift political transition in the country.

Hong said China has taken note of reports about the meeting and hopes that all the sides will play a "positive and constructive" role in pushing ahead with a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

"A political solution is the only practical method of solving the Syrian issue," the spokesman said.

Syria has been locked in a civil war since demonstrations broke out against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. According to UN estimates, at least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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