China says considering sending observers to Syria

China said Thursday it was considering sending observers to monitor a Syrian ceasefire that came into force last week but is under threat as violence escalates.

"China is earnestly looking into whether to send observers to Syria or not," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin told reporters at a regular briefing.

His comments come after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said China and Russia were currently isolated on the Syrian issue, but predicted the two countries would eventually join the rest of the international community against Damascus.

China and Russia both drew international criticism earlier this year for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions on the Syria crisis which were critical of President Bashar al-Assad.

The two countries have since backed UN special envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to bring peace to Syria in the form of a six-point proposal agreed by Damascus that includes the ceasefire and withdrawal of troops.

But there have been reports of fresh violence in Syria – where over 9,000 people have died in the past 13 months of fighting – despite the ceasefire.

A small advance UN mission has been dispatched to Syria to monitor the ceasefire, but UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for 300 unarmed observers to be sent to the conflict-torn country.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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