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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on Syria (political)

2021-03-15 00:23

Madam President,

I thank Special Envoy Mr. Pedersen and Mr. Duhaime for their briefings.

The Syrian crisis has lasted a full decade. Over the past 10 years, Syria has suffered from illegal invasion, external occupation, terrorism, and unilateral sanctions. The national development process has almost stalled and people's lives are in dire straits. The Security Council should vigorously promote an early end to the Syrian crisis and alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. Today, I would like to state the following three points.

First, adhere to the general direction of political settlement. China supports Special Envoy Pedersen in continuing to promote the implementation of the Security Council resolution 2252 and advance the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. We call on all parties in Syria to maintain communication with the Special Envoy, carry out in-depth political dialogue on the basis of existing consensus and make progress at an early date. The Constitutional Committee must remain independent in discharging its functions, adhere to the principle of Syrian-led and Syrian-owned and be free from outside interference. All parties concerned in the Syrian crisis should actively respond to the Secretary-General's global ceasefire appeal, stabilize the security situation in Syria, and create conditions for political settlement. In addition, the humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Syria should not be linked to the political process, as doing so violates the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and will undermine the mutual trust among parties.

China welcomes the establishment of a tripartite coordination mechanism for Syria by Russia, Qatar and Turkey, and welcomes the positive considerations by relevant Arab countries for Syria's return to the Arab League. We hope that this positive momentum will produce pragmatic results and form synergy with the mediation efforts of the UN. The international community should encourage countries in the region to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, instead of threatening or obstructing them.

Second, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be adhered to. Over the years, illegal aggression, occupation and attacks on Syrian territory have caused turmoil in Syria and the entire region. China has noticed that relevant countries carried out airstrikes and missile launches against Syria some time ago. The Permanent Representative of Syria has sent a letter to the President of the Security Council to express concerns. China calls on all parties concerned to respect Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and avoid adding new complications to the situation in Syria. The international community should be committed to promoting the unity and tolerance of Syrian society and reject all intentions and actions to separate the country.

Third, strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation in Syria. In northwestern Syria, terrorists are entrenched and frequently launch attacks, resulting in civilian casualties. There have been worrying new trends in the activities of the terrorist group ISIL. Many members of the Council are concerned about terrorist activities in Syria and their spillover risks. The international community should support the Syrian government's efforts in defending national security and combating terrorist forces in Syria.

Madam President,

Advancing the Syrian political process and restoring peace and tranquility in Syria requires all parties in Syria and the international community to strengthen dialogue, build consensus and work together. Sanctions and pressure will only cause strong pushback, create more confrontation, intensify and prolong the conflict, bring more suffering to the people of the country concerned, and will not help solve the problems in a fundamental way. I would like to emphasize again that the future of Syria is in the hands of the Syrian people. The Security Council and the international community should adhere to the principle of Syrian-led and Syrian-owned and play a constructive role in achieving early political settlement of the Syrian issue.

I thank you, Madam President.

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