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Statement by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on Syria (Humanitarian)

2021-02-25 12:23

Madam President,

I thank USG Mark Lowcock and Ms. Khush for their briefings. I’d like to use this opportunity to welcome the new Permanent Representative of Syria to the UN, Ambassador Mr. Sabbagh.

The past two months has witnessed the continued depreciation of the Syrian pound, soaring food prices to the highest level since 2013 and crippling shortages in the reserves of oil and other essential commodities. The COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, have conspired to exacerbate the humanitarian plight in Syria. The country's dire economic and humanitarian situation leaves us deeply worried. China calls on the international community to provide more humanitarian, development, and reconstruction assistance to support the Syrian government in responding to the pandemic, revitalizing this economy and providing livelihood assurances. A holistic approach must be in order, so the conditions the Syrian people find themselves in can be improved, and that includes emergency assistance to deliver food and medicines, basic services like water and electricity and sufficient supplies to stabilize the market.

I wish to underscore once again that unilateral sanctions and unlawful blockade have been seriously undermining Syria’s ability to mobilize resources, develop its economy, and launch its reconstruction. It is nothing short of a noose around the collective neck of the Syrian people. It must be undone and undone without delay.

China calls on the UN and the international community at large to ramp up humanitarian assistance to Syria with stronger cooperation with its government. While continuing the cross-border humanitarian operations and making the best use of Bab al-Hawa crossing point, efforts should be made to make more cross-line deliveries and steadily scale up this modus operandi. We are pleased to know that last year the World Health Organization delivered large quantities of medical supplies to the northeast of the country with six road convoys and 13 air convoys from within the Syrian territory and that the World Food Program, on a monthly basis, has provided millions of civilians with food aid through cross line deliveries. China has provided Syria with 130 million US dollars in aid through bilateral and multilateral channels. Early this month, China announced a third aid package of 100,000 doses of vaccine, 20 ventilators, and the first shipment of 750 tons of rice. These aid supplies will be arriving in good time. Our assistance and support, where we can, to the Syrian people shall continue.

It warrants underlining that eradicating terrorism once and for all is the only hope that Syria has of returning to normality. This is the sine qua non of improved economic and humanitarian situation in the country. It behooves the international community to support serious counter-terrorism operations that are in line with international law and the relevant resolutions of this Council, with a view to maintaining the country's security and stability.

Madam President,

China takes very seriously the accounts given by the briefers earlier. We are concerned by the incidents that led to civilian casualties, especially casualties among children who are the future of Syria, and whose lives, nutrition, and education must be safeguarded with utmost effort, so that they can survive, thrive, grow up to become a vital force to build their country.

It is imperative that the international community work together to help extricate Syria from the mire of war without delay and to safeguard the basic livelihoods of the Syrian people, especially women and children. The humanitarian issue must not be politicized by attaching political strings to humanitarian aid or by instrumentalizing such aid to exert pressure.

Thank you, Madam President.

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