|Statement by Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Ambassador WANG Guangya at the Ministerial Meeting of the Security Council on the Question of the Middle East|
Your Excellency Mr. President,
I would like to welcome you to the Council to preside over today's meeting and I would also like to welcome Secretary-General Mr. Anan for his statement and the report he submitted yesterday.
As a cradle of human civilization, the Middle East is the birthplace of the Mesopotamian civilization and the religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Unfortunately, for the past half-century or so, that land has been plagued with protracted wars and frequent flare-ups and its people subjected to all kinds of sufferings brought about by occupation, wars, sanctions, etc. The incessant turbulence in the Middle East with no solution in sight does not bode well for the prospect of peace and development of the region. Moreover, it negatively affects peace and stability of the whole world. The current situation is particularly worrying with the continuation of conflicts between Palestine and Israel, the impasse in the implementation of the Road Map and the lack of progress in both Lebanese-Israeli and Syrian-Israeli talks. The future direction of the Middle East development is a question of serious concern of the international community. Against this backdrop, the initiative by Your Excellency Mr. President of holding this ministerial meeting of the Security Council on the question of the Middle East is highly necessary and timely, for which we support fully.
For decades, the question of the Middle East mainly found expression in conflicts between Israel and Arab countries. At present, however, various hot-spot issues like Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Lebanese-Israeli conflict, the instability in Iraq and other tensions in region share the stage. What is more, they are intertwined and mutually affecting. The Middle East is undergoing the most profound changes in recent years, which has resulted in an even more complicated overall situation that has a major bearing on international peace and security and the global economic development. No country can respond to it single-handedly and no country can manage to only mind its own business. The international community must take a strategic perspective and joint hands in a concerted effort to seek a comprehensive settlement. China appreciates the efforts of the Quartet in promoting peace and facilitating talks and encourages it to play a more proactive role. Yesterday, Secretary-General Mr. Anan submitted his last report on Middle East to the Security Council in which contained a number of bold and detailed proposals for the comprehensive settlement of the Middle East question. They deserve serious consideration of the Council.
While the settlement of the Middle East question cannot be achieved without the support of the international community, the key to the settlement still lies in the hands of the parties concerned. Decades of confrontation and conflicts have left an excessive accumulation of grievances between Israel and Arab countries, thus it is necessary to foster an atmosphere of mutual trust. It is our sincere hope that the parties concerned will break out of the futile mode of "violence for violence" and "toughness for toughness", take the initiative to show good will and do more to ease tension. In this connection, we support efforts by Palestine to form a government of national unity, welcome the willingness expressed by Israel to engage in peace talks and hope that the two parties will work together for an early return to the right track of negotiations.
The Security Council bears the solemn responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. The question of the Middle East is the oldest item on the Council's agenda and the biggest "headache" of the Council. The failure to find a solution to the Middle East question for such a long time has had a negative effect on the role and authority of the Security Council. For many years, the Security Council has been in a passive "fire fighting" mode. After the breakout of the Lebanese-Israeli conflict, it took 34 days of arduous consultations for the Security Council to adopt a resolution requesting the two sides to cease hostilities. When UN peacekeepers were attacked and lost their lives, the Security Council only expressed its regret in the light manner by a presidential statement. This kind of abnormality has aroused serious dissatisfaction of many Member States, especially Arab states. This is something that the Council must reflect upon. It should transform itself as soon as possible from "fire-fighter" to "problem shooter", come up with innovative ideas, work in the spirit of seeking overall common ground and putting aside minor differences and take an active and pragmatic approach to help with the efforts to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict and push for the resumption of the Middle East peace process.
After decades of turmoil, the people in the Middle East are tired of the endless conflicts and turbulences. In this 21st century when the whole world is advancing at a high speed, their desire of achieving peace and joining the mainstream of development has become ever more urgent and strong. China is willing to work together with the international community to promote the Middle East peace process and help the Middle Eastern people realize the goal of peace and development at an early date. As long as we make concerted efforts, peace in the Middle East will no longer be an elusive dream.
Thank you, Mr. President.