Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open VTC on Syria (Political and Humanitarian)
16 December 2020
I thank Special Envoy Mr. Pedersen and USG Mr. Lowcock for their briefings. Consideration by the Council of both political and humanitarian issues of Syria will help us tackle the Syrian issue in a comprehensive manner, integrating political, security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian and other factors.
China welcomes the agreement between the Syrian parties on the time frame and agenda of the fourth and fifth sessions of the Constitutional Committee and is pleased that the fourth session has been held smoothly. We look forward to the fifth session scheduled for January. These developments are encouraging. China appreciates the unremitting efforts of Special Envoy Mr. Pedersen. We hope that the Syrian parties will continue to maintain communication with the Special Envoy and deepen political dialogue on the basis of existing consensus. The international community should create favorable conditions to this end. The work of the Constitutional Committee must remain independent and free from foreign interference.
Since March this year, the situation has been generally calm in northwest Syria. We hope the Astana Guarantors will strengthen interaction with the UN to maintain ceasefire on the ground. All parties in Syria should actively follow the appeal by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for a global ceasefire in order to stabilize the security situation in Syria. The main causes of the current security threat in Syria are foreign occupation and terrorist activities. The Syrian Government has the right to defend the country’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity. The international community cannot stand idly by, while terrorists find chances to wreak havoc. The international community should strengthen cooperation, adopt uniform standards, and resolutely combat the scourge in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions.
As briefed by USG Mr. Lowcock, the Syrian people are facing very harsh conditions. In the past two months, the prices of fuel and bread have doubled, the Syrian pound devalued, people lacked fuel to withstand the cold, and monitoring data indicated 49% of households reporting poor and borderline food consumption. We are seriously concerned. For years, Syria has been suffering from conflicts and illegal sanctions, compounded by economic and humanitarian crises. Effective actions must be taken to improve the living conditions of the Syrian people. We call on the international community to provide assistance to Syria to support Syria in rebuilding infrastructure, safeguarding people’s livelihood and fighting COVID-19. China supports the UN in continuing humanitarian relief operations through the cross-border and cross-line mechanisms while bringing into play the role of the Syrian Government. We have provided Syria with assistance worth about 130 million US dollars through bilateral and multilateral channels, and stand ready to continue to help and support the Syrian people.
Last month, China and four other members of the Security Council co-hosted an Arria Formula meeting on unilateral coercive measures (UCMs). Secretary General of the Syrian Red Crescent Mr. Erksoussi gave a briefing at the meeting. According to him, UCMs, especially economic blockade, have severely hindered the resumption of work and production, medical supplies and humanitarian operations in Syria, resulting in an ever larger number of people in need of humanitarian assistance, with women, children, IDPs and other vulnerable groups suffering the most. We hope that the representatives of certain countries could watch the video of the meeting to learn the negative impacts of UCMs on the Syrian people and to see whether the so-called humanitarian exemption is as effective as they boast. We hope that they can empathize with the Syrian people instead of turning a blind eye to their sufferings. China once again calls for the immediate lifting of the UCMs against Syria to improve the living conditions of the Syrian people and ameliorate the humanitarian crisis.
Thank you, Mr. President.