|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council VTC Meeting on Syria|
I would like to thank Special Envoy Mr. Pedersen for his briefing. We appreciate his relentless efforts and good offices in promoting the political process in Syria.
The Syrian crisis has entered its tenth year. The prolonged conflict has caused tremendous suffering for the Syrian people. It is incumbent on the international community to stop the crisis and endeavor to find a fundamental solution as early as possible.
It is China's consistent position that the Syrian issue must be addressed in a holistic way, taking into account political, security, counter-terrorism, economic and humanitarian factors in an integrated manner. Under the current situation, I would like to remark on four priorities:
First, the political process must be accelerated. This is the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in Syria. The parties concerned should actively and pragmatically participate in and advance the inclusive political dialogue within the framework of Constitutional Committee. We hope to see the parties concerned strive for an early solution that fits Syria's national conditions and takes into account the legitimate concerns of both sides. The UN should play its role as the main channel for mediation towards a "Syrian-led, Syrian-owned" political process while the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria be safeguarded.
Mr. Pedersen just briefed the Council on preparations for the third round meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. We call on all parties to demonstrate political will and bridge differences through dialogue and consultation, so that the meeting could go smoothly and achieve positive results. China appreciates the active support from Russia and other countries to the UN-led process through their own efforts.
Second, the security situation in Syria should be substantially improved. There are still a large number of terrorists and extremists in the Idlib region, launching frequent attacks and harming civilians. All parties must stick to a unified standard and strengthen coordination in counter-terrorism actions. As Mr. Pedersen proposed, more effective, cooperative and targeted counter-terrorism actions must be in place to promote peace and stability in Syria and the region.
Russia and Turkey conducted regular joint patrols along the M4 highway in recent months in accordance with relevant agreement, which helped to maintain overall ceasefire in northwest Syria. With regard to the recent air strikes against the Syrian Government-controlled areas, the party concerned is called upon to exercise restraint and take no more such actions.
Third, unilateral sanctions against Syria must be lifted immediately. Unilateral sanctions have seriously undermined the livelihoods of the Syrian people and caused great harm to innocent civilians, especially women and children. We urge relevant countries to heed the repeated appeals by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy. Instead of imposing new illegal sanctions, those countries should immediately lift existing unilateral sanctions against Syria and take concrete actions to improve the humanitarian situation on the ground.
China attaches great importance to the humanitarian situation in Syria and sympathizes with the sufferings of the Syrian people. We have provided, through bilateral and multilateral channels, a large amount of humanitarian assistance, including medical supplies to combat COVID-19, to people in Syria and refugees outside the country. China will continue to support and assist the Syrian people according to what they need.
Fourth, more efforts should be made to help Syria with economic reconstruction. This is the urgent need of the Syrian people, and the foundation for sustainable development and durable peace of Syria. The international community should support the reconstruction efforts of the Syrian government and Syrian people, help them rebuild and recover as soon as possible in areas that have suitable conditions. China will undoubtedly make its contribution in this regard.
The future of Syria should be decided by the Syrian people themselves. China will continue to stand with the Syrian people and play a positive and constructive role in the political settlement of the Syrian issue.
Thank you, Mr. President.