Feb 18 - China, one of Damascus' few allies, offers its support for a plan to end the 11-month-old uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Andrew Raven reports.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - and one of his country's few foreign friends. The embattled leader meets with senior Chinese diplomat Zhai Jun in Damascus, where the pair discussed a bloody 11-month-old uprising against Assad's rule. Zhai said China supported Syria's plans to end the crisis, which has left thousands dead. That roadmap calls for a constitutional referendum followed by open parliamentary elections. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE VICE FOREIGN MINISTER ZHAI JUN "China calls for a stop to the violence. It calls on all parties in Syria to come together for a dialogue, to talk together to reach a comprehensive political plan." China, along with Russia, are among the few international supporters of Assad's government. Western powers and Arab League members, angered by what they called the wholesale slaughter of civilians, have called on the Syrian president to step down. They have also dimissed the constitutional referendum as a sham. Andrew Raven, Reuters.