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

2024-04-25 11:35


I thank UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag for her briefing. 

It has been 200 days since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict. In these 200 days, we have seen the spread of hunger and famine, the collapse of the health care system, the loss of innocent lives, and the desperate struggle of millions of people on the brink of death. There is no justification for prolonging this conflict, and there is no excuse for the killing of civilians. The international community must pool all efforts to mitigate the disaster, save lives, and end the conflict. I have three points to make. 

First, we express our deep concerns about the continued worsening of humanitarian disaster. The three Council Resolutions 2712, 2720, and 2728 and the two ICJ orders on provisional measures all explicitly call for greater humanitarian access, but they have never been effectively implemented, and humanitarian delivery continues to encounter various kinds of man-made restrictions. If this continues, it will definitely result in more civilian deaths from famine and disease. We urge Israel to open all land crossings to guarantee the rapid and safe delivery of humanitarian supplies at scale into Gaza and their safe and orderly distribution within Gaza to those in dire need. We expect that the mechanism established by Senior Coordinator Kaag will play a greater role in reducing and eliminating obstacles to humanitarian supplies before and after their entry into Gaza. Israel should cooperate with all humanitarian agencies, including Senior Coordinator Kaag. 

Second, we support UNRWA in continuing to play its role. To guarantee aid delivery by humanitarian agencies is the responsibility of the occupying power. Hunger cannot be weaponized, and relief cannot be politicized. The Independent Review Group led by Ms. Colonna has released the report noting that UNRWA has had in place for many years a significant number of robust mechanisms to ensure UNRWA’s neutrality and its ability to respond to and hold those accountable for non-compliance in a timely manner, and it possesses a more developed approach to neutrality than other similar UN entities. At this point, the debate on UNRWA’s neutrality should come to an end. We urge all countries to resume funding to UNRWA as soon as possible, and to refrain from using any pretext to impose additional collective punishment on the population of Gaza. Israel made serious allegations regarding UNRWA’s link to terrorism, for which no evidence has yet been shared. We are concerned about this. China reiterates that without solid evidence, it is unacceptable to attack UNRWA maliciously and even make false accusations against the entire UN system. 

Third, we again call on the Council to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. More than six months of harsh reality have made it abundantly clear that Gaza under fire does not have the conditions needed for aid delivery. Council Resolution 2728, which clearly calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, is indisputably binding, and all member states are obligated to implement it. We are gravely concerned about Israel’s frequent bombardments of Gaza in recent days. We urge Israel to immediately cease all military operations against Gaza and abandon its offensive plan on Rafah. Countries with significant influence on Israel should be impartial and play a positive role in realizing a ceasefire. China supports the Council in taking further actions to ensure the implementation of the resolution.

Thank you, President.

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