|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on Syria|
I thank Deputy Special Envoy Ms Matar and Acting ASG Rajasingham for their briefings. I would also like to mourn the sad passing of Mr. Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria, and express my sincere condolences to his family. Mr. Muallem was a seasoned statesman in Syria, and made positive contribution to the relations between China and Syria.
The Syrian crisis has lasted almost 10 years. Its early settlement is the shared aspiration of the Syrian people and serves the common interests of the countries in the region as well as the international community at large. In our view, the international community must coordinate its efforts in political, economic, security and other sectors and take a holistic approach to promote peace, stability and development in Syria.
First, political settlement must be adhered to. China remains committed to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process. The future of Syria must be determined by its people independently. We call upon all parties in Syria to narrow the differences through dialogue and consultations, advance the substantive work of the Constitutional Committee and hold next round of talks when conditions permit. The work of the Constitutional Committee must be independent and free of external interference. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria must be safeguarded. China commends Special Envoy Pederson for his frequent visits to and good offices in the region recently. We also encourage the Astana process and the relevant countries to play an active role.
Second, terrorism in Syria must be eradicated. Terrorists in Idlib have launched numerous attacks recently, kidnapping, detaining, and even executing civilians, journalists, health workers and humanitarian workers. Such acts have seriously undermined the overall calm situation in the northwest part and posed a threat to the security and stability in Syria and in the Middle East at large, causing concerns from the region and the international community. By no means can ceasefire arrangements be interpreted as a laissez-faire attitude towards terrorism. In line with the international law and the Security Council resolutions, the international community must strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation, adopt a unified standard and vigorously combat terrorism in Syria, with a view to creating a sound security environment for the political process in Syria.
Third, economic and humanitarian situation in Syria must be improved in an all-round way. The Syrian government has been actively developing the economy, creating job opportunities and promoting reconstruction. Such efforts should be recognized. The international community must scale up its assistance to support Syria in its efforts to rebuild key infrastructure, provide basic living conditions and fight against COVID-19. Such work will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees. China supports the UN cross-border and cross-line humanitarian relief work. In so doing, the role of the Syrian government must be fully leveraged. Through bilateral and multilateral channels, we have provided Syria with assistance worth 130 million US dollars, and we will continue to do our best to help the Syrian people.
Fourth, unilateral coercive measures against Syria must be lifted. The COVID-19 pandemic in Syria is worrisome. The country is short of resources to combat the pandemic. While the total number of confirmed cases is rising sharply, UCMs severely undermined Syria’s capacity in mobilizing resources to combat the pandemic and recover its economy. On many occasions, Secretary-General Guterres and Special Envoy Pederson have called for lifting of unilateral sanctions against Syria. China strongly urges the United States and the countries concerned to effectively respond to this appeal and lift immediately UCMs against Syria and other countries.
This afternoon, China, Niger, the Russian Federation, South Africa and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will jointly hold an Arria formula meeting on unilateral coercive measures. Council members are welcome to attend.
Thank you, Madam President.