BEIJING - A regional security alliance led by China and Russia announced its opposition to outside intervention in the Syrian crisis in a joint statement released Thursday. The joint statement coincided with reports of another mass killing of civilians in Syria.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Facts
Source: SCO website, UN, ASEAN
Includes China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan have observer status
SCO has observer status at United Nations and Association of Southeastern Asian Nations
While the organization's major focus is security issues, members also coordinate on politics, trade, science, and the environment
Member states occupy more than 30 million square kilometers
Member states are home to around 1.5 billion people - a quarter of the planet's population
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, says it favors a “peaceful resolution of the Syrian problem through political dialogue.”
During a briefing with reporters in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the Chinese government firmly opposes military intervention in Syria, arguing that option would not solve the crisis.
The SCO’s statement follows accusations of another brutal massacre Syria. Opposition activists say forces allied with the government killed at least 78 people Wednesday, including women and children, in Hama province. The Assad government denies the charge and blames a terrorist group for the killings.
Syria's allies Moscow and Beijing have opposed international intervention and vetoed two Security Council resolutions on Syria. In public statements, China has also blamed opposition groups for civilian deaths in the country.
Spokesman Liu Weimin expressed hopes that all parties in Syria will implement a cease-fire deal and end the violence. The Syrian government and opposition groups should accept responsibility and avoid putting civilians in danger, he said.
China and Russia have backed United Nations-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s efforts at mediation in Syria. The Annan plan began with a cease-fire on April 12, but despite the deployment of 300 U.N. observers, violence has continued.
The Chinese spokesman said Beijing supports Annan’s mediation efforts and urged all parties concerned to suport the U.N. mission’s work in Syria.
China and Russia have come under increasing pressure from Western nations to back sanctions or outside interventions since Annan’s peace effort failed to stop the violence.
The United Nations estimated more than 9,000 Syrians have died since the conflict began last year.