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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council VTC on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question

2020-09-29 10:41

Mr. President,

First of all, I wish to express our deep condolences and sincere sympathies to the government and people of Kuwait for the passing away of His Highness Emir Al-Sabah. Emir Al-Sabah is a distinguished leader of the Arab world, who has contributed greatly to the development of friendly relations between China and Kuwait.

Mr. President,

I thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing. Today is the last day of the general debate of the 75th session of the General Assembly. In their statements in the general debate over the past week, many leaders have referred to the situation in Middle East and the question of Palestine. Ceasefire and cessation of violence, peace process, political settlement, and two state solution are frequently used expressions. This fully demonstrates that the Palestinian question has always stirred the nerves of the international community, and never been forgotten. It remains the universal expectation of the international community to push for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue at an early date.

The Security Council bears the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, and is duty bound to promote the settlement of the Palestinian issue. The situation in the Middle East has recently undergone new changes, and the Palestinian question is also facing new dynamics. The Security Council should listen to the voice of Palestinian people and countries in the region, strengthen communication and coordination with all parties in the international community, play its part by making continuous efforts to promote the Middle East peace process and the settlement of the Palestinian issue.

First, to strengthen political support. The question of Palestine is at the core of Middle East issue and should remain high on the international agenda. In his address to the General Assembly last week, President Abbas called on the Secretary-General Guterres, the Quartet and members of the Council in convening an international conference early next year to discuss a genuine peace process. China believes that this initiative demonstrates Palestine's positive will to participate in the peace dialogue and promote the peace process. All parties should attach importance to it, and consolidate efforts to create favorable conditions for the political settlement of Palestinian issue. The international community, especially those countries with influence on Palestine and Israel, should uphold an objective and just position, actively promote peace talks and make efforts to advance the Middle East peace process.

Also according to President Abbas, the Palestinian side is preparing to hold parliamentary and presidential elections, involving all political factions. China wishes to place on record its appreciation and looks forward to an early and positive progress in the intra-Palestinian reconciliation and relevant political processes.

Second, to abide by international consensus. Relevant UN resolutions, the land for peace principle, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the two state solution are important consensuses that must be upheld in order to achieve peace in the Middle East.

The plan to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, if implemented, will seriously violate international law and UN resolutions, and undermine the two-state solution. Hence, China is serious concerned about it. We've noted that the implementation of this plan has been suspended and hope that party concerned will respond to the Secretary-General's call by abandoning the annexation plan and returning to the track of equal footing dialogue and negotiations. In addition, recently the situation in Gaza Strip has been persistently tense. It is hoped that all parties concerned will respond to the Secretary-General's global ceasefire appeal by earnestly observing the ceasefire agreement reached at the end of August, and refrain from taking actions to aggravate the situation.

Third, to put people first. According to the United Nations, the number of Palestinian homes demolished between March and August this year hits a four year high with hundreds of people displaced. We urge relevant parties to earnestly implement the Security Council Resolution 2334, stop all settlement activities in the occupied territories, stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and destruction the Palestinian property, and refrain from acts of violence against civilians. At the same time, relevant parties should fulfill obligations under international law, ensure the coverage of basic services and humanitarian assistance to people in need in the occupied territories, fully lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The COVID- 19 pandemic has had a severe impact on economic and social development of Palestine. Israel and Palestine should put aside their differences, strengthen cooperation and spare no effort to fight the pandemic and save lives. The international community should scale up support to help Palestine meet its economic and humanitarian challenges. China appreciates the efforts made by UNRWA to improve the humanitarian situation of Palestinian refugees and help them fight against the pandemic.

Mr. President,

As a sincere friend of the Palestinian people, China firmly supports the Palestine's just demands and all the efforts conducive to the settlement of the Palestinian issue, and supports the Palestinian people in establishing an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty on the basis of 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Lately, China handed over the fourth batch of epidemic prevention materials to Palestine and signed a donation agreement with UNRWA. Besides, new progress has also been made in the Ramallah school project assisted by the Chinese government. We will continue to help Palestinian people within our ability to fight against the pandemic, develop the economy and improve people's livelihoods, and make our contributions to the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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