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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open VTC Meeting on Syria

(From Chinese Mission to the United Nations)

2020/06/16

Mr. President,

Let me join colleagues to thank Special Envoy Mr. Pedersen for your briefing. We appreciate your continued efforts under challenging circumstances. I also took note of the remarks by Ms. Ghazi.

Concerning the Syrian issue, It is China's consistent position to support the "Syrian-led, Syrian-owned" political process. The urgency of a political solution to the issue is further highlighted in the context of COVID-19. We understand that COVID-19 has caused additional difficulties for the process. Meanwhile, it's our firm belief that the political process should not stop under any circumstances. We encourage the Special Envoy to make every effort to promote substantive political dialogue and enhance mutual trust among parties concerned. We are glad to hear that Constitutional Committee will hold its third round meeting before the end of August, and we are looking foward to more progress in this round of consultation.

We also hope the Secretary-General and Special Envoy's ceasefire appeals will be responded positively. Facing a window of opportunity to promote inclusive dialogue and political solution, we cannot overstate the importance that the Syrian parties must strengthen consultation within the Constitutional Committee, and engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy. Other relevant parties should also play a positive role in jointly addressing the challenges faced by the Syrian people.

With regard to the pandemic issue, we note there are new confirmed cases in Syria. The Syrian Government is taking effective measures in fighting against COVID-19. Meanwhile, the international community should intensify cooperation with the people and Government of Syria in combating the virus. China has donated medical supplies to the Syrian Ministry of Health earlier this month, and we are ready to continue offering our support and help. At this difficult time, it is imperative for the international community, UN agencies and countries in the region to cooperate with the Syrian Government in the fight against COVID-19, and lessen the sufferings of Syrian people.

We are deeply concerned by recent reports of the economic situation in Syria. Years of economic blockade have caused tremendous hardships to the Syrian people, in particular women and children. The sufferings caused by devaluation of Syrian currency and soaring prices of commodities including food, fall heavily upon civilians across the country. We heard briefings from the Special Envoy on the poverty and possible famine in this country, and are very much concerned. We urge the United States to respond actively to the urgent appeals of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy and lift unilateral sanctions immediately.

What is even more worrying is that new rounds of sanctions will be imposed against Syria. These sanctions will inevitably further hinder the economic and social development of Syria, as well as the livelihoods of ordinary Syrians. As vulnerable countries like Syria are struggling with the pandemic, imposing more sanctions is simply inhumane, and may cause additional catastrophes. The United Nations especially OCHA, should pay more attention on the negative impact of sanctions on humanitarian conditions of the Syrian people. Some countries are talking about human rights. If they do care about the human rights of the Syrian people, they should take real actions in responding to the appeals of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoys on the issue of sanction.

We should recognize and acknowledge that relevant parties are making great efforts to maintain ceasefire and promote stability in Syria. Meanwhile, the international community should be alerted against, and must not allow, the fact that terrorists are seeking to take advantage of the current situation. The Security Council should attach importance to this issue and support the Special Envoy's call for effective, cooperative and targeted counter-terrorism efforts. We also call on relevant parties to launch negotiations and take actions on counter-terrorism.

Mr. President,

The future of Syria must be decided by the Syrians, without foreign interference. It is fundamental to respect and uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. China will continue to support the good offices of the Special Envoy in fulfilling his mandate endorsed by Security Council Resolution 2254.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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