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Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Briefing on Syria

2023-03-01 00:25

Madam President, 

I thank Special Envoy Geir Pedersen and Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths for their briefings. I have listened attentively to the briefing by Ms. Rasha Muhrez. 

China once again expresses its condolences to the governments and peoples of Türkiye and Syria for their severe losses of lives and properties caused by the devastating earthquakes. After the earthquake first struck, the Chinese Government immediately launched the emergency humanitarian assistance mechanism and provided 40 million RMB of emergency aid to Türkiye and 30 million RMB of emergency humanitarian aid to Syria. We have expedited food assistance to Syria, to be shortly followed by assistance of prefabricated houses worth 10 million RMB. The Chinese society has been broadly mobilized. Many Chinese people made financial and in-kind donations on their own initiative. Almost 20 non-governmental emergency response teams have headed to the quake-stricken areas. China’s Red Cross Society provided Turkish and Syrian Red Crescents with emergency cash assistance and disaster relief supplies. Moving forward, China will continue assisting Türkiye and Syria in line with their needs in overcoming the disaster and rebuilding their countries.

When one countries is in distress, all others rush to its rescue. Under the current circumstances, both bilateral assistance and the UN humanitarian appeal are as much needed as charcoal on a snowy day, thus should be welcomed and encouraged. China appreciates all parties, especially the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab countries for extending a helping hand to the Syrian Government and people, appreciates USG Griffiths and Special Envoy Pedersen for visiting the quake-hit areas immediately afterwards and mobilizing international support, welcomes the UN flash humanitarian appeal for Syria’s disaster relief, and hopes that assistance from all channels will be operationalized and synergized as soon as possible.

Madam President, 

China welcomes the Syrian Government’s decision of opening the Bab Al-Salam and Al-Ra’ee border crossings, which are now already in use, allowing more convoys into northwestern Syria to continuously deliver supplies to the affected population. This is a positive endeavor by the Syrian Government to relieve people’s hardship in the wake of the earthquake, which both shows Syria’s genuine willingness to work with the UN, and proves the UN’s ability to solve tangible problems in cross-border humanitarian relief through coordination with relevant parties. Such healthy interactions are to be encouraged. Regrettably, cross-line delivery of relief supplies to northwestern Syria is still impeded. We call on all parties to put the interests of Syrians first, act in a constructive spirit, step up communication and coordination, remove all barriers, and fully tap into the cross-line mechanism. 

Madam President, 

Years of illegal unilateral sanctions have significantly exacerbated the economic and livelihood crises in Syria, and brought its disaster response capacity to its knees. The concurrent humanitarian crises of earthquakes, harsh winter, and cholera outbreaks have rendered the humanitarian consequences of unilateral sanctions even more immeasurable. This month, some countries announced a temporary relaxation in their unilateral sanctions against Syria, which in a way reaffirms the severity of the situation. It is our hope that the relevant policy changes will be implemented as soon as possible to unfetter humanitarian agencies and effectively facilitate disaster rescue and relief efforts. It must be pointed out that to address the systematic harm on Syria’s economic foundation and development capacity due to unilateral sanctions, neither temporary measures nor partial exemptions are enough. We urge relevant countries to immediately and unconditionally lift all illegal unilateral sanctions against Syria and stop artificially creating and worsening humanitarian catastrophes. 

Madam President, 

China’s position on the Syrian political issue is consistent and clear. The Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process is the fundamental way to solve the Syrian issue. China welcomes Special Envoy Pedersen’s continued efforts along the line of “step for step” to facilitate dialogue, consultation, and mutual trust among factions in Syria. The earthquakes, unfortunate as they are, can also be an opportunity to forge ahead jointly. It is our hope that relevant parties in Syria will rise above political divisions, build consensus faster, and endeavor to hold the ninth session of the Syrian constitutional committee meetings at an early date. 

The Syrian political process cannot move forward without a secure environment. The international community should adopt uniform criteria in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions and crack down on all terrorist forces in Syria with zero tolerance. Relevant parties must stop conniving with, covering up for, and politically exploiting terrorist forces. The Permanent Representative of Syria, in his letter to the Council Presidency dated 19 February, condemned the airstrike by relevant country on residential areas in Damascus on that day. China calls again for respect in earnest for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and cessation of the illegal presence and military activities of foreign troops in Syria. The illegal plundering of Syria’s natural resources must stop immediately as well. 

Thank you, President.

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