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Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 19:09

Syrian foreign minister to visit China this week

By Agencies

Syrian foreign minister to visit China this week
Foreign Ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on Dec 18, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

BEIJING - Syria's foreign minister will visit China this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, amid a renewed bid by Beijing to play a more active role in finding an end to conflict in the Middle East.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem will be in China from Dec 23 to Dec 26 and will meet his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

Wang over the weekend invited Syrian government and opposition figures to come to China as Beijing looks to ways to help with the peace process.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syrian peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives.

Hong said China hoped for more international cooperation in fighting terrorism to avoid incidents like the downing of a Russian fighter jet.

"The downing of the jet is a loss to the international effort to fight terrorism," Hong said.

Investigators in Moscow said on Monday they were unable to retrieve information from the damaged black box of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey last month, data the Kremlin hoped would support its version of what happened.

Hong said Chinese specialists had recently participated in the black box's analysis at Russia's invitation.

Meanwhile, a top UN official said Tursday that Geneva will host new diplomatic talks in January aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict.

Michael Moller, the head of the United Nations in Geneva, told reporters that the talks are to take place in the UN office in the Swiss city, though he says no date has been set. He did not immediately provide further details.

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