China Peddles Own Syrian Peace Plan

As Clinton, US focus on unifying fractious opposition groups
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2012 7:33 AM CDT
The UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, left, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi prior to their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, China, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Takuro Yabe, Pool)

(Newser) – Might China succeed where the UN has failed at brokering a peace in Syria? China said today it's pushing for a peace plan that would include a regional ceasefire around Syria and a transitional government, reports Reuters. "More and more countries have come to realize that a military option offers no way out, and a political settlement has become an increasingly shared aspiration, " says a spokesman for China's foreign ministry. Beijing offered up the plan yesterday during a visit from the UN's Syria envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.

Not to be left out, the United States is also ramping up its diplomatic efforts in Syria, focusing on uniting the country's highly divided opposition, reports the New York Times. Hillary Clinton criticized opposition groups for being dominated by exiles who have not spent time in Syria for years or even decades, insisting that the opposition should feature those doing the actual fighting. That would mean a major demotion for the Syrian National Council, but Clinton says the peace process required it. "We've made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition," she said. "There has to be representation of those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom." Opposition groups are set to meet next week in Qatar to try to form a unified opposition. (Read more Syria stories.)

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