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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council VTC on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

2021/03/25

Madam President,

I thank Special Coordinator Wennesland for his briefing.

The Middle East peace process, after an extended period of standstill with setbacks, is finally showing positive signs. The international community should seize the opportunity, stay in the right course of the two-state solution, and on the basis of international parameters underpinned by the relevant UN resolutions and the "land for peace" principle, strive to facilitate the resumption of the dialogue and negotiation process. I wish to highlight the following three points.

First, major parties have recently interacted frequently on the Palestinian-Israeli question. The special foreign ministers' meeting of the League of Arab States demonstrated the unity of Arab states on the Palestinian question. The Quartet reaffirmed the general direction of two-state solution, sending out encouraging signals. Building on that, we need to amplify the voice of regional countries, mobilize international support and forge a synergy to promote talks for peace. We must uphold the authority of the UN and the Security Council and maximize the role of relevant mechanisms. China supports President Abbas's initiative to convene an international conference on peace in the Middle East, and supports the establishment of an expanded multilateral mechanism for peace.

We welcome the second round of national dialogue between Palestinian factions and hope that the dialogue will help enhance Palestinian unity, ensure the smooth holding of elections and better protect and promote the interests of Palestinian people. At the same time, the international community should continue to focus on the root causes of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and speed up the political process.

Second, this year marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 2334. This resolution responds to the legitimate concerns of the Palestinian people and reflects the general demands of the international community. Regrettably, five years on, settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory continue to expand in size, the number of Palestinian houses being demolished keeps growing, while the Council resolution is yet to be effectively implemented.

Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security is the only option. The issue of settlements is a key item of the final status negotiations on the question of Palestine. A proper solution to this problem will greatly enhance mutual trust between the two sides and help the Middle East peace process break out of the vicious circle and get into a phase of virtuous interaction. China calls on Israel to act on Council resolution 2334, stop settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory and take measures to prevent violence against civilians. At the same time, Israel's right to survival and legitimate security concerns need to be fully respected and guaranteed.

Third, Palestine is faced with prominent challenges in survival and development, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The international community should take concrete actions to help Palestine fight the pandemic and improve people's livelihood. UNRWA has made positive contribution to improve the humanitarian conditions of Palestinian refugees. The international community needs to deliver on commitment as soon as possible, consolidate its political support for UNRWA, and effectively ease its financial stress.

In the aftermath of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China dispatched a team of medical experts to Palestine, donated multiple consignments of anti-epidemic supplies, and through UNRWA provided anti-epidemic assistance to Palestinian refugees. China donated COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered to Palestine soon. Following last year's Ramallah city road project, China will continue to assist Palestine this year in building schools, repairing wells, to boost its development and generate more benefits for its people.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that as a faithful friend of the Palestinian people, China firmly supports Palestine in its just demands and supports the Palestinian people in establishing a fully sovereign and independent state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is currently visiting the Middle East region. China respects the will of the regional countries, and actively responds to their demands. We will take the opportunity of this visit to have in-depth exchanges of views with relevant countries in a positive effort to contribute to the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question as well as the achievement of peace and prosperity in the Middle East at an early date.

Thank you, Madam President.

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