|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Briefing on Syria
I thank Special Envoy Geir Pedersen and Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths for their briefings. I commend their efforts to advance the political process in Syria and ease the plight of the Syrian people. I also listened carefully to the statement by Ms. Mounerfah Albarouki.
China welcomes the holding of the sixth round of the Constitutional Committee on schedule, and noted that it did not achieve the expected results. When Syria continues to suffer from foreign occupation, unilateral sanctions and terrorist terrorism, when there is serious lack of political mutual trust among all parties in Syria, and when the future and destiny of the country are not entirely in the hands of the Syrian people, it is not surprising that the Constitutional Committee has encountered difficulties and hiccups in its work. The Special Envoy stated to the press after the Committee meeting, that all parties in Syria need to reach an understanding on how to advance the drafting of the Constitution. We call on all parties to remain engaged constructively with the Special Envoy on this. All parties in Syria and those who have influence on Syria should take practical measures to effectively implement the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned principle, and start from the consensus areas such as anti-terrorism, carry out active cooperation, and gradually build up mutual trust so as to create conditions for the political process, lend substantive support to the work of the Special Envoy, and jointly promote the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254.
Last week saw a terrorist attack in Damascus that caused casualties. China strongly condemns this attack and expresses condolences to the families of the victims and sympathies to the injured. China opposes terrorism in all its manifestations, and supports the Syrian Government's anti-terrorism efforts. Terrorism is the scourge against humanity. The Council should send out a consistent and clear signal to the terrorist forces in Syria and reject double standards.
The humanitarian situation in Syria described by USG Griffiths is deeply worrying. The economic crisis has affected the Syrian society in all its aspects. Food and oil prices have soared while people's income has kept falling sharply. The COVID-19 pandemic remains serious, while vaccines are in short supply. Water level in the Euphrates has diminished and operation of the Alouk water station has been frequently disrupted, making it difficult to sustain the supply of water and power and agricultural irrigation. Since Turkey illegally invaded northeastern Syria, it has repeatedly cut off the water supply service from the Alouk water station, affecting hundreds of thousands of civilians, and causing enormous difficulties for the UN's humanitarian relief work in the area. China urges Turkey to abide by the international law, including international humanitarian law, protect civilians, maintain infrastructure operations, and guarantee humanitarian access for the UN. As winter approaches, Syrian humanitarian needs will further rise. The international community must pay equal attention to humanitarian assistance and economic reconstruction, and use a multi-pronged approach to help the Syrian people cope with multiple challenges.
China appreciates the large scale humanitarian relief operations carried out by WFP, WHO, UNICEF and other institutions throughout Syria. On August 31, WFP made the cross-line humanitarian delivery from Aleppo to Idlib for the first time. This is a major breakthrough. We hope that all parties concerned will work together to develop a plan for inter-agency cross-line operations in the northwest. China welcomes the fact that UNDP, UNHCR and other agencies have actively carried out early recovery and livelihood projects in Syria, repair infrastructure, clean up ruins and provide training and job opportunities for the Syrian people. Recently, Syria has cooperated with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon on natural gas. We encourage regional countries to enhance interaction and mutual assistance to jointly improve the regional economic and humanitarian situation. It must be pointed out that unilateral sanctions have exacerbated the economic and humanitarian crisis in Syria, and run counter to the international community's efforts, and must therefore be lifted immediately.
I thank you, Mr. President.