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Explanatory Remarks by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the Security Council on Draft Resolution on the Lebanon-Israel Conflict

Mr. President,

We wish to welcome you and thank you for personally presiding over today's meeting. We would also like to welcome Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the foreign ministers of countries concerned to the meeting.

Since the Lebanon-Israel conflict broke out on 12 July, China has repeatedly called upon all the parties to the conflict to practice utmost restraint, and called for immediate cessation of hostilities so as to avoid further escalation of the situation and greater humanitarian crisis. It has been nearly a month since the Lebanon-Israel sanguinary conflict started, which has caused casualties of thousands of innocent civilians and forced a million people to flee from their homes. During the conflict, even the UN peacekeepers were not spared. China condemns excessive use of force and attacks against civilians, civilian facilities and UN personnel. We strongly advocate an early Security Council action to realize immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, stop the current conflict, maintain peace and stability in the Middle East and relieve the humanitarian disaster.

After rounds of difficult negotiations by the parties concerned, the Security Council has finally reached consensus on the draft resolution on the Lebanon-Israel conflict. In the course of consultations, China repeatedly emphasized that any Security Council resolution and framework of settlement must respect and reflect the concerns of all parties involved, especially the concerns of Lebanon and the Arab countries. We believe that the resolution before us, on the basis of absorbing the seven-point proposal of the Lebanese Government, has embodied some important elements, such as calling for full cessation of hostilities and calling upon the Lebanese Government to deploy its armed forces throughout the South together with the UNIFIL as the Israeli army withdraws behind the Blue Line. The resolution has also laid out detailed provisions for the new mandates of the UNIFIL. These have formed a good foundation for future efforts to achieve long-term political solutions to the Lebanon-Israel issue. We have taken note that Lebanon, Israel and Arab countries hold no objections to this resolution. Due to the above considerations, China has voted in favor of Resolution 1701.

Mr. President,

The adoption of Resolution 1701 is just the first step, and the parties concerned are faced with more arduous tasks. China hopes that the parties concerned will earnestly implement the resolution and, in particular, assisted by the Secretary-General, reach consensus at an early date on a comprehensive, lasting and fair framework for the political settlement of the conflict, and restore local peace and stability as soon as possible. At the same time, the international community should intensify their urgent humanitarian relief efforts for Lebanon and help the Lebanese people to rebuild their homeland.

Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to emphasize that while focusing attention on the Lebanon-Israel conflict, the international community should not neglect and forget the on-going sufferings of the Palestinian people. We hope that with the joint efforts of Israel and the Arab countries, and on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions and the principle of "land for peace", Middle East peace process will be revitalized, and a comprehensive, just and lasting peace will be realized in the Middle East at an early date.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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