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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Humanitarian Issue of Ukraine

2022-04-19 18:30

Madam President, 

At the outset, I thank Director General Vitorino and Deputy High Commissioner Clements for their briefings. 

The Ukraine conflict has triggered a dire humanitarian situation and other serious consequences. We are deeply concerned about this. Here, I would like to make four comments. 

First, every effort must be made to reduce the harm to civilians caused by conflict. China once again calls on all parties to the conflict to exercise maximum restraint, strictly abide by international humanitarian law, protect civilians and civilian facilities, and facilitate evacuation and humanitarian assistance operations. The parties concerned should strengthen communication on humanitarian issues, and conduct coordination and cooperation on issues such as opening humanitarian corridors and organizing the safe evacuation of personnel. China supports Secretary-General Guterres and Under-Secretary-General Griffiths in engaging with all parties on the humanitarian pause, and agreeing on relevant arrangements. 

Second, the issue of refugees should be properly addressed. The neighboring countries of Ukraine have provided safe havens and humanitarian assistance to millions of refugees, which China appreciates. The continuation of the conflict will result in more refugees, and bring huge economic and social challenges to the host countries. The international community should strengthen coordination, and provide more support to refugee-receiving countries in the spirit of shared responsibility. UNHCR, IMO, and other agencies should continue to mobilize and coordinate international aid, scale up humanitarian assistance to refugees, and help ease the pressure on host countries. We have noticed that in the past few days, many refugees have returned to Ukraine, and we hope that their basic needs will be met as they return to normal life. 

All refugees, regardless of nationality, race, or religion, should be treated equally. Vulnerable groups such as women and children should be given priority protection. Actions must be taken to crack down on human trafficking and other criminal activities targeting women and children seeking refuge. Agencies such as UNHCR, UN Women, UNICEF, and OHCHR should also step up monitoring in support of the efforts of relevant countries. 

Third, diplomatic negotiations must be promoted with a greater sense of urgency. The prospect of an extended and prolonged conflict is worrying. Putting an early end to the conflict is the fundamental way to resolve the humanitarian crisis. We call on Russia and Ukraine to adhere to the general direction of dialogue and negotiation, continuously narrow differences, and accumulate conditions for a ceasefire. All other parties should focus on supporting diplomatic negotiations. Continuing to send more offensive weapons will not bring peace. It will only prolong and escalate the conflict, and further aggravate humanitarian catastrophe. 

Fourth, we must pay attention to and eliminate the negative impact of sanctions. All-dimensional and limitless sanctions have had serious spillover effects, with developing countries bearing the brunt. Last week, at the launch of the first report of the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, Secretary-General Guterres said “we are now facing a perfect storm that threatens to devastate the economies of many developing countries”. The vast number of developing countries, that are not parties to the conflict, have paid a heavy price for it. This is neither fair nor reasonable. The international community should strengthen coordination to keep food and energy supplies and prices stable, and avoid unnecessary export restrictions. It should also be pointed out that arbitrary freeze of foreign exchange reserves of other countries also constitutes a violation of sovereignty, and is tantamount to weaponizing economic interdependence. Such practices undermine the foundation of world economic stability, and bring new uncertainties and risks to international relations. They should be abandoned as soon as possible. 

Madam President, 

China has always stood on the side of peace and justice, and stood by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We will continue to work tirelessly for the final resolution of the Ukraine crisis. 

I thank you, Madam President.

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