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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on the Middle East

2020/12/21

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing. Also, I'd like to use this opportunity to thank the Special Coordinator for his work over the past five years, especially towards the solution of the Palestinian question. I also wish him all the best in this new position.

Mr. President,

Four years after the adoption of resolution 2334, there has been no noticeable progress in its implementation. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory continues to deteriorate, and the Middle East peace process is stalled. This situation is deeply worrying.

The relevant UN resolutions, the land for peace principle, and the two-state solution distilled from generations of wisdom and painstaking work must be observed and implemented. China notes with concern the continuation and significant expansion of settlement activities. According to the latest SG report, in the past four years, plans involving more than 28,000 housing units had been approved, tenders had been announced for 12,000 units, and constructions of around 6000 units have started. We call on all the parties concerned to abide by the UN resolutions, settle the final delineation of the Palestinian-Israeli borders through peaceful negotiations, refrain from unilateral actions that may aggravate tensions, abandon the annexation plans, and cease settlement activities.

The past few months has witnessed increased demolitions of Palestinian houses and escalated violence against civilians. With their homes gone, we have seen children in their hundreds forced into displacement. We urge the authorities concerned to immediately lift the blockade on Gaza, stop demolishing Palestinian houses and destroying Palestinian properties, and prevent acts of violence against civilians.

As close neighbors that cannot physically move away from each other, Palestine and Israel must adhere to the strategic option of peace talks and relaunch equal-footed dialogue without delay. We welcome the initiative for President Abbas to convene an international peace conference early next year. We commend the two parties for restarting civil and security cooperation and resuming the transfer of tax revenues. At the international level, we must all remain impartial and objective, working in good faith to advance the Middle East peace process. Any solution to the Palestinian question must take on board the voices of regional countries, especially Palestine, accommodate the concerns of all parties, and must not be imposed on any party.

Given the current context, the international community must place high on its agenda the economic and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 on Palestine. We applaud the unremitting efforts of UNRWA to improve the Palestinian humanitarian situation. The GA resolution on UNRWA was adopted by an overwhelming majority this month, an eloquent testimony to the international recognition of the agency's work. At this very moment when UNRWA is under tremendous financial strain, the world needs to honor its commitments and pitch in with financial contributions to help the agency tide over the current difficulties.

Since the start of this year, China has provided multiple shipments of PPEs and other anti-epidemic supplies to Palestine, sent a team of health experts, and made major donations to UNRWA. Recently, the anti-epidemic supplies provided by the Chinese government to UNRWA-affiliated health institutions and the health kits provided via UNRWA to Palestinian refugees in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria have all arrived and been delivered.

Mr. President,

Earlier this month, the United Nations commemorated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. For the eighth consecutive year, President Xi Jinping sent a message to the General Assembly on the annual observance, fully demonstrating China's firm commitment and support for the just cause of the Palestinian people and its sincere wish for peaceful development in the Middle East. China is ready to continue working with the international community in an unwavering effort towards a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the Palestinian question at an early date.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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