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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Video Conference on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

2020-04-23 00:10

Thank you, Madam President.

China thanks Special Coordinator Mladenov for the briefing.

During our last VTC on MEPP, many of us expressed some optimism at the signs of coordination between Israel and Palestine in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. However, coming into this month, we witness more worrisome developments.

UN agency has recorded persistent demolition of Palestinian-owned structures. Acts of violence against Palestinian civilians continue. Settlement activities are ongoing, while plans for annexation are reportedly been advanced.

China takes note of the recent letter by President Abbas to the Secretary-General, as well as the statement of NAM members circulated for today's meeting, and shares their concerns. I would like to highlight the following:

First, to put an end to unilateral acts that may aggravate conflict and tension.

China is very much concerned about the alleged plan to annex the occupied Palestinian territory, which goes against international law and relevant Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 2334.

We urge relevant parties to refrain from taking any such unilateral steps. The Secretary-General's appeal for a global ceasefire should be followed. Relevant parties should cease all settlement activities, stop demolition of Palestinian homes and destruction of Palestinian properties. Measures should also be taken to prevent violence against civilians.

Second, to strengthen the preparedness and response to COVID-19 must be given top priority.

The vulnerability of occupied Palestinian territory under this pandemic is obvious. Mr. Mladenov has repeatedly warned about the dire humanitarian situation and possible catastrophe, especially in Gaza strip.

We encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to sustain and enhance cooperation on the public health and security fronts, wherever the pandemic necessitates. Relevant parties should fulfill their obligations under international law to ensure the delivery of essential services and humanitarian aid to people in need.

We call on the lift of the blockade against Gaza which hinders pandemic responses. UNRWA has intensified its efforts to help the Palestine refugee community to address this unprecedented health crisis. Their critical work is highly recognized. The international community should continuously support the work of UNRWA, including increased and stable financial support.

Third, to continue pursuing comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

In his letter to the Secretary-General, President Abbas called for the necessary mechanisms towards ending this conflict and called on the Security Council to adopt such mechanisms.

The international community should turn the current crisis of pandemic into opportunities, invest more efforts to push for the political process, commit to the "two-state solution", and work towards the early resumption of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Relevant UN resolutions, the "land for peace" principle and the "Arab Peace Initiative" should be observed. Any new initiatives should, without exceptions, meet those basic international parameters. The Council should work with the international community to advance the Middle East peace process.

Madam President,

China maintains our principled positions on the Palestine issue, and stands ready to help the Palestinian people in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chinese government has provided emergency medical supplies including testing kits, protective gears, protective goggles and N95 face masks to the Palestinian people. Chinese charity institutions are also doing the same. We will continue to do so.

We remain committed to supporting their just cause for restoring legitimate national rights and establishing a Palestinian state with full sovereignty based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Thank you, Madam President.

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