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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC Meeting on Syria (Humanitarian)

2020/07/29

Mr. President,

I thank USG Mr. Lowcock for his briefing. I also listened carefully to the remarks by Ms. Qaddour.

China follows closely the humanitarian and economic situation in Syria. We are deeply worried that Syria is now going through severe economic collapse. The loss of currency value, rising unemployment, increased food insecurity and insufficient medicine supplies, all add to the sufferings of the Syrian people. To save the economy of Syria is fundamental to saving more lives and preventing more severe humanitarian crisis.

The fact that unilateral sanctions gravely impact the humanitarian situation in Syria is undeniable. Years of economic blockade and illegal sanctions have worsened the socio-economic and humanitarian situations in Syria, and undermined the livelihoods of innocent civilians. At this critical time, unilateral sanctions further compromise the capacity of Syria to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lifting unilateral sanctions is more important and urgent than ever.

UN Secretary-General Guterres, Special Envoy Pederson and OCHA have made repeated appeals for waiving of unilateral sanctions. These appeals have also received overwhelming support of member states. There should be positive response to these appeals.

China urges relevant countries to demonstrate genuine sympathy and support for the Syrian people by lifting the sufferings they impose on them. We do not believe the so-called humanitarian exemptions can justify their actions, or make the situation different on the ground. The Security Council should fulfill its mandate and take concrete actions in this regard. We also request a comprehensive report by UN Secretariat on this issue.

The international community should increase humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, on the basis of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. In this regard, China’s position on cross-border mechanism remains unchanged. Considering the current situation, we do not object to retaining cross-border mechanism at this stage. We take note that after the adoption of Security Council resolution 2533, UN agencies are making full use of Bab al-Hawa. We have learned that according to OCHA, it is possible for this crossing point to handle the increased deliveries.

We reject the irresponsible comments from the United States and some other countries against China. China has always adopted a constructive and responsible approach in dealing with the cross-border issue. In fact, it is the United States that should reflect over itself. In addressing the cross-border issue, the United States voted 6 times against reasonable draft resolutions and amendments aimed at narrowing differences and finding solutions.

If the US truly cares about the humanitarian situation in Syria, it should stop politicizing the humanitarian issue, stop putting up hypocritical political show. If the US truly cares about the humanitarian situation in Syria, it should immediately lift unilateral sanctions against the Syrian people, instead of creating groundless excuses. If the US truly cares about the humanitarian situation in Syria, it should stop hegemony policy, regime change and bullying practices in the Middle East and other parts of the world, which had led to endless chaos and instability.

Mr. President,

We reiterate that the Syrian Government should always bear the primary responsibility to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria. It is encouraging to see continued efforts and progress in cross-line operations into both the northeast and the northwest of Syria. China calls upon relevant parties to remove obstacles to cross-line operations, and give priority to providing humanitarian relief from within Syrian territory.

We appreciate the efforts of humanitarian workers on the ground, guided by the principles of humanitarian emergency assistance as set out in GA resolution 46/182.

Mr. President,

The Syrian issue should be addressed with a holistic approach, taking into account the political, counter-terrorism, security, humanitarian and other aspects altogether. China calls upon relevant parties to respond to the ceasefire appeals by the SG, strengthen dialogue and consultation, and actively promote a “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process. China will continue to play a responsible and constructive role in the efforts to achieve a peaceful, just and proper settlement of the Syrian issue at an early date.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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