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Statement by Ambassador LIU Jieyi at the Security Council Debate on the Middle East

2017/04/20

I wish to thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing. China has listened closely to the statements made by the representatives of Palestine and Israel.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II), on the partition plan for Palestine and Israel. Seventy years on, the Palestinian people are still seeing their legitimate rights and interests denied and continue to be subjected to unfair treatment, a situation that must be rectified without delay. The Palestinian question remains at the heart of the Middle East issue and is of fundamental importance to the region. The latest developments on the ground are testimony to the fact that the Palestinian question, if left unresolved, will undermine security and stability in the region and beyond. In this connection, the international community should shoulder collectively the responsibility of defending the legitimate rights and interests of Palestine with a renewed sense of urgency. There is a pressing need for both Palestine and Israel to observe restraint and to take concrete action to revive the peace talks.

First and foremost, both parties should implement in earnest resolution 2334 (2016) by stemming the violence against civilians. Israel should cease settlement expansion, lift restrictions on humanitarian access to Gaza and demonstrate goodwill so as to enable renewed peace talks. The legitimate security concerns of regional countries must be respected and addressed.

Secondly, both Palestine and Israel should resume talks at the earliest opportunity and make strategic choices that serve the interests of their peoples. Resolving the Palestinian question through peace talks is the best way to serve the interests of all parties. The use of force offers no solution. The earlier the talks resume, the sooner the peoples of both sides and of the wider region will benefit. Both parties should respect each other’s right to statehood and survival. Talks must begin, and breakthroughs can be made along the way. Efforts should be made to achieve an early harvest of positive results and gradually to rebuild and strengthen confidence. It is crucial to sustain dialogue in preparation for a final and comprehensive solution. China supports efforts to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of, inter alia, the two-State solution, the Arab Peace Initiative, the principle of land for peace and relevant Security Council resolutions with a view to establishing a fully sovereign Palestinian State within the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Thirdly, we must build international consensus and engage all forces actively working to de-escalate the situation. China welcomes the fact that the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and countries with influence are playing a greater role and stepping up their efforts with respect to Palestine and Israel in order to consolidate the will for peace talks and to foster synergy. The lead role of the United Nations must be fully leveraged. Any outcome of such efforts should be endorsed by the Security Council.

Apart from the intractable Palestinian question, other hot-spot issues in the Middle East have also dragged on for years and defied solution, and are compounded by the rampant presence of terrorist forces, resulting in a dire peace and security situation in the region. The Middle East is now at a crossroads. It faces the risk of rising instability and at the same time raises hopes for peace. The countries of the region and the international community should work more rigorously to de-escalate tensions and seek a fundamental way forward.

First, we need to remain committed to dialogue and consultation and pursue a political settlement to hot-spot issues. The countries involved are unsurpassed in their knowledge of their own realities and the underlying causes of conflict and tensions. The international community must fully respect their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, recognize and promote the political processes that they have led and own in a way that meets their aspirations to achieving a viable solution that accommodates the interests of all relevant parties.

Secondly, all countries of the region and beyond must play a constructive role. The United Nations remains a main mediator of the Middle East peace process. Countries with influence inside and outside the region can give significant momentum towards peace. International cooperation must be coordinated in helping the countries concerned to build their capacities, working more with the conflicting parties and to settle differences peacefully through talks and negotiations. All parties should at all times remain true to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and other basic norms governing international relations. Attempts to resolve conflicts by non-peaceful means are inadvisable.

Thirdly, we must strengthen our counter-terrorism campaigns. Terrorism is the common enemy of humankind and a venom spreading across the Middle East, to the detriment of efforts to restore peace and stability in the region. The international community should be united to fight against terrorism, make use of all means at its disposal and enhance cooperation in curbing the spread of terrorist materials via the Internet through exchanges of intelligence and law enforcement. We must cut off the channels of terrorist financing and arms supplies, block the spillover and back-flow of terrorist fighters, curtail the spread of terrorist ideologies, and root out the underlying drivers of terrorism.

China is well prepared to continue playing a constructive role, alongside the international community, in seeking a way out of the current conundrum in the Middle East so as to achieve peace and stability in the region and benefit its peoples.

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