|Remarks by Acting DPR Mr. Yao Shaojun at Security Council VTC Meeting on Syria (Political)|
I thank Special Envoy Mr. Pedersen for his briefing. Welcome Ambassador Jafari to participate in this meeting.
The security situation in northwest Syria remained generally stable, since Russia and Turkey agreed on ceasefire arrangements on March 6. It’s a result of diplomatic efforts, and is conducive to the political process. Such efforts should continue. As COVID-19 spreads globally, Middle East countries including Syria are exposed to the risk of an outbreak. In such context, the Secretary-General Mr. Guterres, Mr. Pedersen and other UN envoys to the Middle East have issued several appeals to ceasefire. China attaches great importance to these appeals, and calls on the parties to actively promote inclusive political dialogue, to buy time for prevention and containment of COVID-19, and create conditions for political solutions. We noted that the Foreign Ministers Meeting of Astana Process was held last week, and believe these discussions are helpful to cope with the multiple challenges in Syria.
Meanwhile, the issue of counter-terrorism in Idlib needs to be addressed effectively. I recalled that the Special Envoy said that in the current context, “it is possible and necessary to discuss a more effective cooperative targeted counter-terrorism effort”. We agree to his suggestion. Information shows that the terrorist groups are still making assaults in Idlib, and pose a constant threat to the peace and stability of northwest Syria, which is unacceptable. We cannot let terrorists take advantage of the ceasefire and strengthen themselves. We call on relevant parties to seek a comprehensive and long-term solution to the issue of Idlib, through dialogue and negotiations.
It is our consistent position of supporting the political solution of the conflict in Syria. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the Special Envoy, especially in this difficult time. We encourage the Syrian parties to maintain dialogue, and work together in the Constitutional Committee, for the interests of the people and future of Syria. The Constitutional Committee must be independent, without foreign interference. The political process must be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, in line with UNSC Resolution 2254. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria must be upheld.
China is watching very closely the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Syria. We appreciate the efforts made by the Syrian Government to take responsible and forceful measure to combat the virus, and will continue to offer our support. Meanwhile, we are seriously concerned about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic. Considering that there will be another session on the humanitarian situation in Syria, we will elaborate more about this issue in the afternoon.
Thank you, Mr. President.