BEIJING, March 2 (Aljazeera) - China President Xi Jinping and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko have called for a ceasefire and negotiations to bring about a political settlement to the Ukraine conflict at talks in Beijing.

The two leaders issued a joint statement on Wednesday in which they expressed “deep concern about the development of the armed conflict in the European region and extreme interest in the soonest possible establishment of peace in Ukraine”, according to the Belarusian state news agency Belta.

“Belarus and China are interested in averting an escalation of the crisis and ready to make efforts to restore regional peace and order,” it added.

Their summit brought together two of the foreign leaders on whom Russian President Vladimir Putin is most reliant for support as his army struggles to achieve the goals of its year-old invasion.

Beijing has become increasingly vocal in calling for peace as the Ukraine conflict drags on, and denied it would provide arms to Moscow after US officials said China was considering doing so.

Last week, it issued a 12-point paper calling for a comprehensive ceasefire in Ukraine that largely summarised China’s previous stance and met scepticism in the West.

In televised comments, Xi said China was eager to strengthen trust and cooperation with Belarus “given the instability and turbulence of the international situation”.

In a clear reference to the US and its allies, Xi added, “relevant countries should stop politicising and using the world economy as their tool, and take measures that truly advance a cease-fire and stop to war and resolve the crisis peacefully.”