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

2020/08/27

Mr. President,

I thank Acting ASG Mr. Rajasingham for his briefing, and welcome the Permanent Representative of Syria to the meeting.

After listening carefully to the briefing and reading through the Secretary-General’s report, I must say that we have many reasons to be worried.

The economic situation in Syria is extremely fragile, the international community should support the Syrian Government to revitalize the economy.

We acknowledge that the Syrian Government has made commendable efforts, in order to improve the livelihoods of the Syrian people, including implementing agricultural reform, helping small businesses, facilitating inter-governorate transportation, and combating COVID-19 pandemic.

The international community should support Syria’s endeavor with concrete actions and assistance. In addition, it should support Syria to defend its sovereignty and manage its own natural resources. Syria’s oil fields belong to the Syrian people and cannot be subject to illegal foreign plundering.

Years of unilateral sanctions have caused tremendous hardships to the Syrian people, and must be lifted immediately.

The unilateral coercive measures are damaging Syrian economy, destroying livelihoods of civilians, and undermining Syria’s capacity to respond to COVID-19. The Secretary-General, his Special Envoy and USG Mr. Lowcock have repeatedly appealed for the waiver of sanctions.

China strongly urges the United States to respond actively to these urgent appeals and lift unilateral sanctions without delay. The UN Secretariat and OCHA should pay high attention to this issue, strengthen research and analysis in this regard and report to the Security Council.

We call on all stakeholders, especially the UN agencies, to increase input and coordination in humanitarian operations in Syria.

We welcome recent progress in cross-line humanitarian operations. There have been missions from Damascus to both north-east and north-west. We call the UN to continue strengthening cooperation with the Syrian Government, and scale up cross-line operations in combination with cross-border deliveries.

Donor countries are encouraged to fulfill their commitment of assistance to Syria as soon as possible. Those assistance should not come with preconditions, nor should they be used as tools for political agenda or pressuring the Syrian government.

It is disturbing that water supply of Alouk water station was cut off, influencing 460,000 people. The neutrality of civil infrastructure must be guaranteed.

Mr. President,

The development of COVID-19 pandemic in Syria can not be overlooked. Forceful measures as well as more assistance must be put in place.

The Syrian Government has taken decisive actions in many areas to reduce risk of public transmission and save lives. The international community need to back up these efforts.

We are glad to know that UN has formed 112 rapid response teams, and WHO provided dedicated training for 432 persons. China has already delivered two batches of medical supplies to Syria. Last week, we provided specialized medical equipments to children’s hospitals in Syria. We will continue to provide necessary assistance to the Syrian people.

The security situation in Syria deserves special attention. The international community should continue to support Syria in fighting terrorism, in line with international law and Security Council resolutions.

There is a significant increase of attacks by ISIL in Syria early 2020. Recently, IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) and mine explosions have caused great casualties. Many incidents are attributed to designated terrorist groups. We are concerned that a gas pipeline in Damascus suburb was attacked, causing a blackout throughout Syria on Monday.

Counter-terrorism is an unfinished battle and a long-term task. Ceasefire does not mean let loose of terrorist activities. The international community must keep alerted and adopt unified standards to combat terrorism, including in Syria.

With regard to the political process, let me reiterate China’s firm support for the “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process. The sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria must be upheld.

We are glad to know that the third round meeting of the Constitutional Committee resumes today. We hope the meeting to be a productive one.

Mr. President,

China rejects the groundless accusations of the United States. Those political propaganda and blatant lies have become cliché in the US statement.

If the US truly cares about the humanitarian situation in Syria, it can do many things instead of blaming others, including lifting unilateral sanctions.

I strongly urge the US to stop politicizing the Syrian humanitarian issue, and match its words with deeds.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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