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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan at Security Council's Open Debate on "The Role of the Security Council in Humanitarian Crises"
(12 July 2005)

2005/07/12


The Chinese delegation is pleased to welcome you, Sir, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, to the Council to preside over today's debate. We would like to express appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his statement, as well as to the Under-Secretary-General, Mr. Guéhenno, for his briefing.

The concept of humanitarian crises is a broad one. The Security Council, as the organ of the United Nations bearing the primary responsibility for international peace and security, should, as a matter of course, play a lead role in conflict prevention and management. Effective conflict prevention and resolution, as well as post-conflict reconstruction, are the primary functions of the Security Council in response to humanitarian crises. In its future undertakings, the Council should attach greater importance to the question of how to help conflict areas maintain stability and how to get them back on track towards sustained development so as to prevent relapses into conflict. In this context, I would like to raise a number of issues.

First, the rule of law and justice in law enforcement are necessary prerequisites for a peaceful transition. They are also a fundamental guarantee for the consolidation of lasting peace. In areas emerging from conflict, ensuring the rule of law and justice should become an integral part of the overall effort to achieve peace and stability, protecting the fundamental interests of local populations and serving the overall interests of social stability. All the participants in post conflict reconstruction efforts should abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter and universally recognized norms of international law, and should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned. Only in that way can the relevant efforts be considered justified, win the credibility and trust of the recipient countries and genuinely promote post-conflict peacebuilding.

Secondly, most humanitarian crises take place in less-developed areas and are closely linked with poverty and underdevelopment. In such areas, the end of a conflict does not necessarily mean the arrival of peace. Usually we are faced with grave challenges in terms of finance, technology and lack of human resources. The United Nations should mobilize timely international resources and provide technical assistance, playing a greater role in that respect, in order to help the countries concerned to implement their disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes and intensify their efforts to strengthen the justice sector. In providing assistance to the countries concerned, the international community, in particular the donor community, should fully respect local history, cultural traditions and legal structures, respect the ownership and decision-making capacity of local populations and avoid becoming involved in internal conflicts. Instead of issuing orders, it should provide guidance in keeping with the realities and needs on the ground. The focus should be on building the capacity of local areas and populations rather than on imposing a predetermined model of governance.

Thirdly, in responding to humanitarian crises, the Security Council should strengthen coordination and cooperation with the affected regions and subregions to help enhance their capacity to deal with such crises. The African continent should not only be the focus of United Nations conflict prevention activities; it should also be the focus of the Organization's post-conflict peacebuilding efforts. The Security Council should not only help the African countries concerned with post-conflict peacebuilding; in keeping with the realities and specific needs on the ground, it should also strengthen the continent's regional and subregional organizations by providing them with logistical, financial and technological assistance in order to improve their overall capacity for post-conflict peacebuilding.

China supports the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, which we hope will become functional as soon as possible. We hope that that initiative will promote post-conflict peacebuilding efforts and foster lasting peace and stability. It should also have a direct impact on United Nations efforts to coordinate post-conflict peacebuilding activities. We hope that the parties concerned will reach agreement on the details of the initiative as soon as possible.

China endorses the presidential statement drafted by the Greek delegation. We are grateful to that delegation for its efforts.
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