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Statement by Ambassador L Baodong at the Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East

2012-10-15 00:15

Mr. President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman for his briefing. I also listened carefully to the statements made by the representatives of Palestine and Israel.

China is deeply concerned about the long-standing stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and the economic and humanitarian difficulties facing the people of Palestine. In September 2011, the Quartet set the end of this year as the deadline for reaching an agreement between Palestine and Israel. The Middle East peace process is now once again at a crucial crossroads. The question of Palestine has always remained the crux of the Middle East issue. The longstanding stagnation of the Middle East peace process is not conducive to peace and stability in that region. The regional turbulence should not divert the international community's attention from the Palestinian question.

China has always advocated that the parties concerned should, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map for peace in the Middle East, resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation and achieve the ultimate goal of establishing an independent Palestinian State living side by side in peace with the State of Israel.

China urges the two sides to take practical steps to remove barriers to the peace talks in order to seek an early resumption of the peace talks and subsequent progress. Israel should assume the responsibility for taking the first step. We urge Israel to immediately stop the building of settlements, to lift the blockade on Gaza, to release Palestinian prisoners and to improve their living and medical conditions. We urge Israel to actively cooperate with the international community in such efforts towards peace in order to create the conditions for relaunching the peace talks with Palestine.

The international community should increase its sense of responsibility and urgency for advancing the Middle East peace process. It should work actively to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table and to promote measures by both sides to rebuild their mutual trust. China hopes that the Quarter will play an effective role and come up, as soon as possible, with a proposal for the resumption of the peace talks between Palestine and Israel.

China supports a greater role for the Council in helping to restart the Middle East peace process. We have always backed Palestine's just pursuit of the restoration of its legitimate rights as a nation and its establishment as an independent State with full sovereignty on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We also support Palestine's membership in the United Nations and other international organizations.

China is extremely worried about the continuing tension in Syria, as the Syrian issue has a bearing on peace and stability in the Middle East. Any solution to the question of Syria should be based on observation of the purposes and principles of the Charter and on the basic standards governing international relations. It should also be based on respect for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity and on continuing implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, Kofi Annan's six-point plan and the final communiqué of the Geneva meeting. China is against any external imposition of a settlement on Syria and any efforts towards so-called regime change.

A political settlement is the sole viable way of defusing the crisis in Syria; military means would only lead to more pressure and greater conflict. It is urgent that all forms of terrorism or violent acts in Syria and any efforts to encourage or abet a resort to military means be halted forthwith and that a political transition, led by the people of Syria, be started instead. China calls on all of the parties in Syria and the international community to cooperate with and support Joint Special Representative Brahimi in performing his good offices in the effort to reach a political solution to the Syrian question.

China is concerned about the impact of the current Syrian situation on its neighbours. We call on the parties concerned to bear in mind the overall interest of regional peace and stability, to respect one another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, to continue to exercise restraint and to refrain from any action that could lead to an escalation of the situation, so that everyone can work together to maintain regional peace and stability.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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