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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC Meeting on Syria (Humanitarian)

2020-04-29 09:27

Mr. President,

I thank USG Mr. Lowcock for his briefing.

China pays close attention to the humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular the impact of COVID-19 on the economical and social development in Syria. We take note that the Syrian Government takes a series of active measures in health care, education, transportation, food production and many other aspects to prevent and contain the spread of the virus. We appreciate such efforts.

Years of conflict undermined Syria's capacity to cope with the pandemic. The international community must not stand by. China is actively cooperating with Syria to combat the virus. The first batch of medical assistance arrived two weeks ago in Damascus. Last week, one renowned Chinese hospital held a video meeting with Syria Ministry of Health. Chinese medical experts shared their first-hand experiences in combating COVID-19. We're willing to continue providing assistance within our capacity to Syria, and call on other countries to do the same. We also encourage OCHA and other international humanitarian agencies to make more efforts in supporting Syria to respond to the pandemic in various forms.

The humanitarian issue in Syria is interlinked with political, economical and security issues, and must be managed in an integrated and impartial way. The role of the Syrian government should be brought into full play. It should be acknowledged that the Syrian Government has demonstrated political will to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. There have been positive developments in cross-line operations. With regard to the issue of cross-border humanitarian assistance, full respect must be given to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We call for continued coordination and cooperation between OCHA and the Syrian government to find a sustaining solution together. With regard to the Board of Inquiry, China reserves its concern over the way of its establishment and working method.

Unilateral sanctions undermines Syria's capacity to combat COVID-19, destroys the livelihood of civilians. There is no means to justify unilateral sanctions, and we are firmly against them. China reiterates its support for the appeals of the SG and High Commissioner for Human Rights to lift sanctions. We urge relevant countries to respect the legitimate rights and lives of all people affected by the pandemic, and immediately lift unilateral sanctions against the countries concerned.

It must be pointed out, that the humanitarian issues in Syria is closely related to the political process. China calls on all parties to fully implement UNSC Resolution 2254, and push forward "Syrian-led, Syrian-owned" political process. We support the UN and the good offices of Special Envoy, in the hope that we can jointly promote peace and stability of Syria and of the region. China is also seriously concerned over the civilian casualties caused by yesterday's tragic event. We extend deep condolences to the families of the victims. We call on the parties to respond actively to the ceasefire appeal of Secretary-General Mr. Guterres.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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