China's foreign minister on Sunday welcomed the deal between the United States and Russia to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons

"The Chinese side welcomes the general agreement between the US and Russia. This agreement will enable tensions in Syria to be eased," Wang Yi said at a meeting with his visiting French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

The United States and Russia unveiled an ambitious plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014, sparking a diplomatic drive Sunday to secure broad international backing for the deal.

The landmark deal, announced in Geneva on Saturday, left the door open to unspecified sanctions if Damascus fails to comply, and was swiftly hailed by the West.

However it was equally swiftly rejected by Syrian rebels who warned it would not halt the bloodshed in the conflict that has killed more than 110,000 people and displaced millions in two and a half years.