UNITED NATIONS – China is not trying to protect Syrian President Bashar Assad and will respect the will of the country's people on its future, China's U.N. ambassador said Monday.
Li Baodong told reporters that China is calling on all parties in Syria to immediately implement international envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan, stop the killings and launch an inclusive political process to restore peace and stability to the country.
"We (do) not have intention to protect anybody against anybody," he said. "What we really want to see is that the sovereignty of that country can be safeguarded, and the destiny of that country can be in the hands of the people in Syria."
In Berlin, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after meeting his German counterpart that no "durable solution" is possible while Assad remains in power. But he said "I believe the Syrian regime will end up falling under the weight of its crimes."
Fabius did not comment directly when asked if France differs from Germany on whether military force should be used.
But he stressed that "the central point is that all action that is taken can only be taken within the framework of the United Nations."
China and Russia vetoed two U.N. Security Council resolutions which raised the threat of possible sanctions against Syria and have ruled out any Libya-style military action to protect civilians in Syria. Germany opposes the use of military, but has been pushing for Russia to support U.N. sanctions.
China's Li, the Security Council president this month, said "the Syrian issue now is at very critical moment and (the) political process to solve the Syrian crisis is at crossroad."
He warned that if Annan's plan isn't implemented, Syria's bloody violence will turn into "full-fledged civil war" with sectarian revenge killings in neighborhoods and towns that may affect peace and stability in the Middle East.
Li said there is "a force," which he did not identify, trying to undermine Annan's peace efforts and he urged the Security Council and the international community to give the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy their "unswerving support."
"He's our front-line man," Li said. "We do not want to see lip service, half-measure actions" or other attempts to undercut him.
The Chinese ambassador said that last month's massacre of more than 100 civilians in the cluster of villages known as Houla "caused colossal damage" to Annan's attempts to restore peace.
China and Russia voted against a resolution Friday that was approved by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council which condemned the massacre in Houla and called for an independent investigation.
Li said China believes in the need for an independent investigation, but he said China wants to wait for more information from the nearly 300 U.N. military observers in Syria.
Annan is scheduled to brief an open meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Syria on Thursday morning and attend a closed Security Council meeting to discuss the latest developments in the afternoon.