Syria opposition leader courts China

May 6, 2012 at 10:26 AM

ALEPPO, Syria, May 6 (UPI) -- China said its officials would meet with a leader of the Syrian opposition during his visit to Beijing this week.

Burhan Ghalioun arrived in China Sunday for talks aimed at ending the bloody revolt in Syria, China's Xinhua news agency said.

Ghalioun will meet with Foreign Ministry officials, who thus far have refused to go along with calls on the Syrian government to ease up its attacks on rebel cities. China joined Russia in vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to attacks on peaceful protesters.

CNN said China is a major exporter to Syria and has said officially that the Syrians should settle the dispute themselves.

Meanwhile, violence continued in Syria this weekend in the run-up to Monday's parliamentary elections, which will for the first time will include candidates from parties other than the ruling Baath party. Opposition activist estimated the weekend nationwide death toll at about 25.

An explosion Saturday near Aleppo, Syria's largest city, killed five people, according to opposition activists. Analysts told CNN Aleppo has been a stronghold of government support, which makes the bombing and a recent increase in anti-government protests in the city potentially significant.

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