|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on Syria|
I thank Special Envoy Geir Pedersen and USG Mark Lowcock for their briefings, and together with their briefings and the SG report, I would like to highlight the following points.
First, the UN should continue its good offices and adhere to the Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process. The international community should step up its effort to seek a political solution, and push for an early end to the Syrian crisis. China calls on all parties in Syria to closely engage and consult Special Envoy Pedersen and reach consensus on the arrangements for the sixth round of the Constitutional Committee meetings as soon as possible. The Constitutional Committee in its work should remain independent and free from outside interference. China has noted Syria’s announcement that it will hold general elections next month, and calls on the international community to respect the sovereignty of Syria and the choice of its people. The future and destiny of Syria must be determined by the Syrian people themselves.
Terminating external occupation and eliminating the forces of terror are necessary security conditions for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Many Council members are concerned about terrorist activities within Syria and the risk of their spillover. The international community should work together in accordance with international law and Council resolutions to combat terrorist forces in Syria.
Second, the international community should enhance the relevance of humanitarian relief in Syria, and effectively alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian people. The complex humanitarian challenges facing Syria today are highlighted by soaring food price, oil shortages, and the spread of COVID-19. The UN agencies need to scale up food aid and help Syria maintain its agro infrastructure, such as water and power supplies. China supports the UN in providing vaccines to Syria through COVAX. And China's shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on April 24. Hopefully, the timely injection of vaccination will help curb the spread of the pandemic in Syria.
Impacted by unilateral sanctions and economic blockades, Syria is suffering from a severe shortage of oil, and many gas stations have been forced to shut down because of low fuel supplies. China urges the countries concerned to heed the calls of the Secretary General, the UNHCHR and the broad membership to immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Syria.
Third, the UN should respect the status and role of the Syrian government and continuously improve the patterns of humanitarian relief to Syria. China welcomes the positive progress made in cross-line humanitarian relief operations. In March, the WHO delivered over 470,000 medical treatments through cross-line approach to civilians in the northeast. According to the Syrian government, the Syrian side has approved the cross-line humanitarian deliveries to its northwest, but the UN convoy has yet to make the trip. The Syrian government wants to know exactly what has hindered the cross-line deliveries to the northwest, who is to blame, and what to do next. These issues and concerns deserve attention and warrant response.
We hope that the UN, on the basis of making full use of existing border crossings, will continue to scale up cross-line humanitarian relief operations and open up cross-line transport routes throughout Syria as soon as possible.
In conclusion, I wish to stress that China remains committed to playing a constructive role in taking forward the political process, restoring peace and stability in Syria, and alleviating the sufferings of the Syrian people.
Thank you, Mr. President.