I thank you, Madam President, for presiding over today's open debate. I also thank Mr. Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Serry for his briefing. China has listened attentively to the statements made by the observer of Palestine representative of Israel.
The question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East question. Although the Middle East peace process has witnessed more than 20 years of vicissitudes, including major ups and downs, the general trend is towards peace. At present, peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel face critical choices that require firm confidence in peace and patience and courage from both parties.
First, there must be firm confidence in peace. Middle East history has proven time and again that an eye for an eye will only deepen hatred. Only by transforming swords into ploughshares will peace be achieved.
Since the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks at the end of last July, the positions of both parties have remained far apart and negotiations have been difficult. However, progress towards peace is what the people desire and represents an irreversible trend. A negotiated settlement of disputes represents the right direction towards the right goal. At this critical juncture, both parties must mine strengthened confidence and remain calm.
Secondly, there must be patience in the peace talks. Efforts towards progress in the peace talks cannot achieve results overnight. As long as both parties move resolutely towards a negotiated settlement, results are certain to come about. The principle of land for peace, the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and all of the agreements reached between the parties constitute a realistic basis for peace between Palestine and Israel and, furthermore, for reconciliation between the Arab and Jewish nations. Both parties are on the same peace track and should therefore work together for the common good, by demonstrating the patience and perseverance that will eventually lead them to a land of peace.
Thirdly, there must be the courage necessary for tough political decisions. The twists and turns in the Middle East peace process represent an important lesson, namely, that peace talks resemble a struggle against the tide. One must push forward, or otherwise risk being pushed backwards. Peace must be built; it will not self-construct.
Peace talks require proactive efforts. Biding for time is not an option. For Palestine, mutual recognition of the other party's right to exist is an important prerequisite. Mutual accommodation of the other party's concerns is essential.
For Palestine and Israel, mutual recognition of the other party's right to exist is an important prerequisite. The key lies in the need to think from the perspective of the other party. In the current situation, the prompt release of Palestinian prisoners, a halt to the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the lifting of the blockade against Gaza and ending the violence against innocent civilians are imperative to maintaining an atmosphere conducive to the peace talks.
Meanwhile, internal reconciliation and improved unity in Palestine will contribute to the goal of an independent Palestinian State. Palestine and Israel should become more proactive and positive in their approach towards the peace talks and the peace process.
China has always attached importance to the question of the Middle East and has made consistent efforts to promote the peace process. One year ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping provided a four-point proposal for settling the question of Palestine. It emphasized that peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel is the right direction to take to settle the issues between Palestine and Israel; peace talks represent the only realistic path to peace; the principle of land-for-peace is an important basis for promoting the Middle East peace process; and international support constitutes an important guarantee of progress in the peace talks.
That four-point proposal fully reflects the Chinese Government's sincere will and practical effort in promoting the Middle East peace process. China will continue to promote the peace talks through various channels and measures in view of strengthening its contribution to peace in the Middle East.
The present situation in Syria remains volatile. The people of Syria continue to suffer. The political process is encountering difficulties. China is highly concerned and remains of the view that war is not an option - violence only begets hatred. The top priority is for all Syrian parties to place the interests of the nation and the country above everything else, end the violence and hostilities as soon as possible, promote an inclusive political transition and comprehensively implement resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2139 (2014) in order to achieve an early political settlement of the question of Syria. The international community should muster strengthened confidence, persevere in the direction of the political settlement and encourage all Syrian parties, in the spirit of the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/523, annex), to start another round of negotiations as soon as possible in order to achieve a settlement that suits the specific situation of Syria and addresses the concerns of all parties. On the question of Syria, China has always pushed for peace talks, promoted a political settlement and adopted a balanced approach in engaging both parties to the conflict.
China attaches importance to the overall and long-term interests of the people of Syria, seeks to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East, and upholds the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms of international relations. China is ready to continue its constructive role in efforts to promote a political settlement of the question of Syria.
Thank you, Madam President.