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China says it’s not protecting Syria’s Assad

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – China’s U.N. ambassador says his government is not trying to protect Syrian President Bashar Assad and will respect the will of the Syrian people on the country’s future.

Li Baodong told reporters Monday that China is urging all parties to immediately implement international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan, halt the killings, and launch an inclusive political process to restore peace in Syria.

China, along with Russia, has twice shielded Assad’s regime from possible U.N. sanctions over his regime’s crackdown on protests.

Li, the Security Council president this month, warned that if Annan’s peace plan isn’t quickly enacted, violence in Syria would turn into “full-fledged civil war” that may spill over and affect Mideast peace.

Annan is scheduled to brief the council on Thursday.

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