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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC on the Middle East

2020-10-26 04:16

Mr President.,

I thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing. I also welcome Foreign Minister of State of Palestine and the representative of Israel to this meeting.

The Palestinian issue is the root cause of turbulence in the Middle East and must be put to the center of the international agenda. During the general debate of UNGA75 last month, as well as the deliberations of the Fourth Committee this month, many countries expressed their views on the Middle East situation and the Palestinian issue. The Palestinian leadership has also put forward new initiatives. It is worthwhile to earnestly study these initiatives and take corresponding action.

Recently, new changes emerged in the Middle East, and the Palestinian issue is facing new situations as well. China is pleased to see measures conducive for easing tensions among countries in the Middle East, and for promoting regional peace and stability. At the same time, we should not fail to see but give close attention to the recent escalation along the Gaza Strip, new settlement construction plans still underway and the worsening humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. I'd like to emphasize the following points.

First, stick to the right path of the two-state solution. The two-state solution is the bottom line for international fairness and justice. We should not turn back the wheels of history. International consensus such as relevant UN resolutions, land for peace principle, Arab Peace Initiative, are important parameters for resolving the Palestinian issue and must be observed and implemented.

The two sides should stick to their strategic choice of peace talks, find out sooner solution to the occupied Palestinian territories based on relevant UN resolutions, demarcate final boundaries through peaceful negotiations, refrain from taking actions that may intensify conflicts, and abandon plans of annexation in particular. We call on relevant parties to effectively abide by the agreement of understanding reached at the end of August, cease violence and avoid escalation in the Gaza Strip. The settlement issue is one of the core issues related to the final-status negotiations on the question of Palestine. China agrees with a statement made by Special Coordinator Mladenov on October 15 that the settlement construction violates international law and weakens the prospect for the realization of the two-state solution.

Second, firmly advance the peace process. What is lacking in resolving the Palestinian issue is not ambitious plans or lengthy documents, but the courage to deliver on promises and the conscience to uphold justice. The international community, countries with influence to Palestine and Israel in particular, should be objective and fair, proceed from the fundamental interest of the Palestinian people and that of the regional countries, promote peace talks and sincerely endeavor to advance the Middle East peace process. Any solution to the Palestinian issue should heed the opinion of the parties concerned, Palestine in particular, and the voice of regional countries and organizations. And such a solution should be reached at through equal-footed dialogue and negotiation between the parties concerned. Efforts should be made to avoid imposing a solution, so as not to give long-term negative impacts.

President Abbas in his statement at the GA general debate called for an international conference with participation of relevant parties in the beginning of next year to discuss real peace process. China supports this and hopes that the international community gives attention to it, and all parties work together to create favorable conditions for the settlement of the Palestinian issue. We are pleased to see intra-Palestinian reconciliation, as well as the progress of relevant political process. We hope that relevant countries in the region will continue to play their constructive roles.

Third, vigorously improve the economic and humanitarian situation. The COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the already fragile economic, public health and humanitarian situations in Palestine. The international community should increase input to support Palestine in developing its economy, improving people's livelihood and countering the pandemic so as to promote peace and stability with development. We encourage the two sides to resolve the tax withholding issue through negotiation. We call on the relevant party to completely lift the Gaza blockade to ensure access to basic service and humanitarian aid by all those in need in the occupied territories. In addition, we call for effective implementation of the Security Council resolution 2334 ceasing demolition of Palestinian houses and destruction of their properties and ceasing violence against innocent civilians.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides educational and health care services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, and has made a significant contribution to the improvement of their humanitarian situation in Palestine. The international community should firmly support UNRWA and oppose the use of cutting off aid as a tool of pressure.

Mr. President,

China has always supported the Palestinian people in establishing a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital and supported the legitimate Palestinian demands and all efforts conducive to the settlement of the Palestinian issue. Since the beginning of this year, China has provided several batches of epidemic prevention materials to Palestine and sent medical experts to help fight the pandemic. We have also donated to UNRWA and through which provided PPEs to Palestine and Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Shipments of anti-epidemic supplies to UNRWA’s medical institutions and those of health care to refugees within and outside the territory of Palestine are all underway.

As a sincere friend of the Palestinian people, China will continue to be guided by President Xi Jinping’s four-point proposal on the settlement of the Palestinian issue and make positive contributions to the realization of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue at an early date.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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