Beijing calls US criticism over Syria unacceptable

AFP, Monday 27 Feb 2012

China says it will play a constructive role with all sides for the peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis

Beijing on Monday hit back at Hillary Clinton over her criticism of China and Russia's stance on Syria, calling the US Secretary of State's comments unacceptable.

Clinton said Friday that the international community must work to change the positions of Moscow and Beijing, which have faced intense criticism for vetoing two UN resolutions condemning the Syrian regime.

"It is quite distressing to see two permanent members of the Security Council using their veto when people are being murdered," she said.

"It is despicable and I ask whose side are they on? They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people."

Asked for China's response to the comments, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing "cannot accept that at all", and criticised the international community for trying to "impose a so-called solution" on the Syrian people.

China, which has a long-held policy of non-interference in other countries' affairs, has repeatedly defended its veto and says it is "willing to play a constructive role with all sides for the peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis".

China and Russia last week boycotted a "Friends of Syria" meeting of more than 60 foreign ministers gathered to seek an end to the 11 months of bloodshed in which rights groups say more than 7,600 people have died.

Both countries have frustrated efforts to rein in the regime of Bashar al-Assad, including by vetoing two US Security Council resolutions.

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