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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on Syria

2023-06-29 15:35

Madam President, 

I thank Deputy Special Envoy Najat Rochdi and Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths for the briefings. 

The Syrian Government has to date opened border crossings of Bab Al-Salam and Al-Ra’ee, taken positive measures to facilitate humanitarian access, ended the case-by-case approval procedure for cross-line assistance, and facilitated visa issuance for humanitarian workers. These initiatives are welcomed by the parties concerned, and China commends these efforts. The Security Council should take into account the developments of the situation in Syria and the implementation of Resolution 2672 in its planning for the next phase of work in a science-based manner to further increase humanitarian relief to Syria and alleviate its humanitarian crisis. I wish to emphasize the following four points. 

First, Syria’s sovereignty and the Syrian Government's ownership must be respected. The cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism is only an exceptional arrangement in response to a specific situation and should eventually be phased out in an orderly manner. Promoting the transition from cross-border to cross-line deliveries is the right way forward with subsequent discussions in the Security Council. China hopes that the members of the Council will adopt a pragmatic approach and engage in dialogue and consultations on the arrangements to this end. 

Second, cross-line operations should be the primary mode of humanitarian relief in Syria. However, in the past six months, due to the obstruction by the parties in de facto control of northwest Syria, the operations were interrupted for four months. The Security Council must come up with practical solutions to break the barriers in cross-line delivery, improve efficiency, and increase scale to ensure greater stability and predictability of the relief work.

Third, explosive remnants of war in Syria continue to cause civilian casualties, threaten the safety and security of humanitarian workers, and impede humanitarian relief efforts. We call for incorporating the clearing of ERW into early recovery projects without delay. At present, the huge gaps in humanitarian funding for Syria have already affected the implementation of relief operations and early recovery projects. We hope that the parties concerned will honor their commitments and further increase their funding support.

Fourth, some countries have been voicing their concerns about Syria’s humanitarian situation and requesting the Council to adopt resolutions on humanitarian issues in Syria. At the same time, they have been willfully imposing unilateral sanctions, causing Syria’s economic and humanitarian plight to worsen. Such self-contradictory and hypocritical behavior is no different from pretending to be giving CPR to a patient without losing the chokehold on the patient's throat. I wish to reiterate that all unlawful, unilateral sanctions against Syria should be unconditionally and fully lifted.

Madam President, 

China's position on the political process in Syria has been consistent and unequivocal. We welcome the 20th Astana conference on Syria and its positive outcome. Syria has returned to the Arab League family, and we believe that regional countries’ unity and cooperation will inject new impetus into the political settlement of the Syrian issue. The international community should also play a constructive role in creating a favorable external environment for dialogue and reconciliation among various groups in Syria. We once again urge foreign troops to end their unlawful military presence in Syria and stop plundering Syria's natural resources.

Thank you, President.

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