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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun in the Security Council after the Voting on Draft Resolutions on the Mandate Renewal of Cross-border Humanitarian Relief Mechanism in Syria

2019/12/20

China always attaches great importance to the humanitarian situation in Syria, supports the international community in stepping up humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, and supports the active work of OCHA and other international humanitarian agencies. China has also provided Syria with food, medicine, education, training, public services and other assistance through multilateral and bilateral channels, and is committed to improving the humanitarian situation in Syria and alleviating the sufferings of the Syrian people.

Regarding the establishment of a Syrian cross-border humanitarian relief mechanism, China always has reservations. We have always advocated that any action must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country concerned. The Syrian government has the primary responsibility for improving the humanitarian situation in Syria and should prioritize providing humanitarian assistance from inside Syria. Cross-border humanitarian relief is a special relief method adopted under specific circumstances. It should be evaluated in a timely manner in light of the developments on the ground. This mechanism must ultimately be adjusted.

At the same time, cross-border humanitarian operations should also strictly follow international law and the United Nations Humanitarian Relief Guiding Principles, in accordance with Security Council resolutions, strengthen overall supervision and ensure fairness, neutrality, credibility, and increase transparency. Relevant relief operations must be coordinated with the Syrian government to effectively prevent relief supplies from falling into the hands of terrorist organizations or being diverted for other purposes.

China has been making active efforts to promote consensus on the issue of cross-border humanitarian relief in Syria. We regret that the parties failed to reach agreement on the extension. Based on the above, China had to vote against the co-penholders’ draft resolution. Regarding the differences of the parties on the Syrian humanitarian issue, they should be fundamentally addressed through the Syrian political process. We urge parties to continuously strengthen mutual trust and cooperation to jointly create favorable conditions for a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian issue .

China firmly rejects the groundless accusations leveled by the United States and other countries on China's voting position. China has always participated in the consultations in a responsible and constructive manner, calling on all parties concerned to engage in dialogue and consultations and making active efforts to reach a consensus. China's concern is completely reasonable and legitimate. Like the position of any other country, it is indisputable. China independent and principled voting position brooks no accusation.

The current situation in Syria is precisely caused by the erroneous actions of some countries. It is these countries that should really reflect on and answer the series of questions before us. If they really care about the Syrian people and the humanitarian situation in Syria, why don’t they vote for the Russian draft resolution? They have every opportunity to fulfill their promise to the Syrian people. This also shows once again that their concern is hypocritical and they are pursuing typical double standard, which is a concrete manifestation of politicizing humanitarian issues.

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